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Hackathon solves problems faced by police through technology

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Published on 4, April, 2024

University of Sunderland Hackathon - Durham Police
University of Sunderland Hackathon

Students competed in the University of Sunderland’s first-ever Hackathon with help from tech giant Microsoft and IT consultancy ANS to help Durham Police through technology.

The competition saw six teams create solutions using Microsoft Power Apps to address day-to-day challenges that the police face, whether it’s keeping track of information for investigations or helping officers promote inclusivity whilst on duty.

A panel of judges from the University, Microsoft and Durham Police had to pick a winner after students spent two days developing and presenting their solutions.

Namandeep Khokhar, who studies BSc Computer Science and was part of the winning team ‘Fit’s the Bill’, said: “Meeting such lovely members from different companies was such a pleasure and on top of that was an honour to work for them.

“Our team came out with a mobile application solution specifically related to assets that officers own in the field. In the app an officer can easily login into it and can fill in the details or can capture images of their assets.”

He added: “I learnt two things from this two-day Hackathon. One of them was that if a person really decided to get something, he or she can easily get that. Another was never say no to a new opportunity."

Fostering new talent through events such as this is at the heart of what the University of Sunderland strives for.

Paul Graham, Interim Associate Head of Computing at the University of Sunderland, said: “This is the first time this has been done with a local university with an employer such as the police and these are skills that will help students become employable.

“These extra-curricular activities are an added benefit of coming to the University of Sunderland which we organise each term, and not only do students gain a degree, but they are also able to gain extra qualifications”.

Paul Guy, Director of ICT at Durham Constabulary, said: “Policing needs to be engaging with the technologists of the future who are emerging from academia, as these are the leaders and innovators of tomorrow - the hackathon was an ideal way to achieve this.

“We have a great relationship with the University and admire their student ethos. Partnering together for events such as this is an opportunity for us to break down the barriers between policing and technology.

“We know with the correct people and skills, the Microsoft Power Platform can deliver fundamental technology benefits that can improve business agility, productivity and reduce costs. It’s great to see what the students can do and chat with them directly about the roles we have and can offer at Durham.”