Page last updated at 08:59 GMT, Friday, 14 August 2009 09:59 UK

Appeal for anti-terrorist gadgets


Developers demonstrate their device to stop speed boats

An appeal for inventors to develop anti-terrorist gadgets has been launched by the government.

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond and Desmond Llewelyn as Q in The World Is Not Enough
Inventors can take their lead from Q, played by the late Desmond Llewelyn

Real-life versions of scientist Q in the 007 films are being offered funding to develop technology to aid the fight against groups like al-Qaeda.

Ideas already realised have included a rocket-propelled net to stop speedboats and a barrier to block suicide trucks.

Security Minister Lord West said this was "one more tool in our fight against those who would wish to do us harm".

'Serious threat'

The appeal is part of the Home Office's three-year Science and Technology Counter-Terrorism Strategy, CONTEST.

This predicts that terrorists will use modern technology not just to plan and carry attacks, but also to spread propaganda and bring in new recruits.

New technologies have been harnessed by terrorist groups very, very quickly
Dr Tobias Feakin
Royal United Services Institute

In response, the government has produced a brochure for science and technology experts to put them in touch with key contacts in the counter-terrorism community.

Lord West said he believed the UK's status as a "leading innovator" in defence and security strategy should be harnessed to prevent terror attacks.

He added: "The UK currently faces a real and serious threat from terrorism and we need to utilise our position as a world leader in science and technology to counter this.

"We need to match products and ideas to problems, which is why we are actively inviting people to join us and share expertise."

Dr Tobias Feakin, director of homeland security at the Royal United Services Institute, said it was important to keep pace with terrorists who did not face the "barriers in place to harnessing new technologies that governments do".

He told the BBC News channel: "New technologies have been harnessed by terrorist groups very, very quickly because they're very adept at changing and adapting.

"Governments have to actually begin to change their processes so they can adapt to new technology types in a far more quick manner than perhaps they did in the past."

Print Sponsor

MI5 set to recruit science chief
17 Apr 09 |  Science & Environment
A new Q - search for spy science chief
17 Apr 09 |  Science & Environment
The real world behind James Bond
01 Mar 05 |  Magazine

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific