The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), an arm of the government’s Ministry of Defence, has launched a £1m innovation competition to develop new capabilities for police and law enforcement agencies to stop armed or violent offenders with the minimal necessary force from distance.

It is seeking proposals for innovative technologies from industry and academia that can temporarily stop a violent or armed subject to prevent the escalation of conflict or destruction of property.

It said these technologies would allow the use of less lethal means as an alternative to firearms in some scenarios, giving police more options to defuse dangerous situations and  without having to resort to lethal force.

An initial £500,000 funding is available for innovators with up to £500,000 additional funding for a later phase.

The scope of this competition, run on behalf of the Home Office, includes looking at technologies that have not been deployed operationally before and investigating combinations of technologies that may provide better solutions.

The proposed technologies would need to reach a distance of 50m to meet the police requirement while up to 70m could also meet potential military requirements.

It also said it is looking for technology which providers the “ability to mark a subject in order to ‘identify’ them at a later stage.”

According to UK charity Inquest, there has been one fatal police shooting in 2018, three in 2019 and two t0 date in 2020.