The Innovation Zone – the place for collaboration – expanded for 2024.

Following the success of the first Innovation Zone in 2023, the Security & Policing (S&P) hub for science, innovation and technology is back with double the number of organisations to engage with and an exciting programme of speakers and activities. The Innovation Zone brings together government, industry, academia and international partners to collaborate on how innovation, science and technology can help solve the latest security and policing challenges.

This event falls into British Science week, which is a 10-day celebration of all things Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The idea is to stimulate and engage STEM professionals, science communicators, industry and academia to participate in STEM events and activities – never a more relevant time to visit the Innovation Zone at S&P!

There will be a variety of briefs and engaging panels with a focus on how science, innovation and technology help deliver a safer, fairer and more prosperous United Kingdom. Following these talks, a new networking area in the Innovation Zone will offer the chance to continue conversations with speakers and engage with representatives from the Government innovation ecosystem.

With so many incredible opportunities in the Innovation Zone, we spoke to Detective Chief Superintendent Richie Salter (Home Office Science Senior Police Advisor) to get a policing perspective on the highlights and takeaways from the event. Richie has attended S&P for the past two years and managed a stand in the Innovation Zone in 2023.

What were a few highlights from the Innovation Zone last year?

Networking and Connections

The Innovation Zone grouped together Home Office Science, Innovation and Technology, the Department for Transport, National Crime Agency and others next to innovation functions including the Accelerated Capability Environment (ACE) and Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA). This brought more structure to the people around, meaning that you could engage with everyone you needed to from the security and policing innovation community all in one place. It helped with making and building connections – for example, we could easily put a police force into contact with a technical specialist who can explain science concepts that might be helpful, or direct interested parties towards programme managers or commercial colleagues regarding projects. 

It was really good because members of industry, academia and international partners were there, which was a main focus. This gave these partners opportunities to access us and find out about our services, allowing information to be shared regarding the current needs of policing and how this could shape future innovation. It also allowed us to hear about their thoughts, ideas and concerns. A large range of officials from the government innovation ecosystem were also there and we had time to visit each other’s stands, see what everyone does and have conversations about the potential for crossover and further collaboration. The ability to network stands out as a highlight.

Stage Events

The stage events and talks were interesting, and they helped to give us a platform to explain some of our science, innovation and technology priorities and interests. This was particularly successful, drawing industry across and giving an opportunity to talk about specific things based on what they’d heard from the event so far. We also had police advisors on some panel talks, which brought in frontline perspectives and further interest in topics under discussion.

How has the Innovation Zone at S&P been important?

S&P is a good place to have conversations and to facilitate a joined-up approach to common problems with other government departments, industry and academia that you haven’t necessarily explored and connected with yet. For example, I didn’t know UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) well before S&P, but from conversations enabled by the Innovation Zone we built a connection, and we are doing more with them this year including UKRI sponsored events to get industry innovating together internationally, helping to strengthen those links.

The Innovation Zone is even bigger this year, with a wider range of partners, more opportunities to talk directly to the Home Office and our partners, and the chance to hear about our science, innovation and technology strategy. Make sure to visit us to explore how we can collaborate to keep the UK safe and secure. Whether your interests are in data analytics and AI, forensics, detection, behavioural science, emerging technologies, or more, stop by to discuss how we can build our science, innovation and technology capabilities, identify opportunities to work together on shared challenges, and support innovation.

The Innovation Zone 2023

There is still time to register for Security & Policing 2024 – the Official UK Government Global Security Event – at the Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre between 12-14 March 2024.

Security & Policing remains a closed event and all visitors are subject to Home Office approval and visitor criteria.

Register to attend now