On Thursday 21 April, our Year 12 Sociology classes took a trip to the Home Office in London to visit The Accelerated Capability Environment (ACE) which is located next to MI6 on the Albert Embankment. The Home Office established the Accelerated Capability Environment to explore and embrace new ways to think and react to the threats from terrorism and serious and organised crime. ACE are a team designed to access the best of what industry and research have to offer and coordinate public and private agencies to address and shape public sector problems.
Toby Jones, Head of ACE explained that ACE comes up with fast-paced, innovative solutions to a number of problems with examples that ranged from reducing NHS hospital waiting times to creating a database of potential terrorists. We had the exciting opportunity to speak to various experts as to how they progressed into their role, their career paths after Sixth Form, and examples of what they do day-to-day.
We were also introduced to Kelly Fisher, Detective Inspector for City of London Police and had the opportunity to ask questions about her career and experiences as a female detective. She gave us advice on the best way to get into the field of detective work which was really interesting and helpful.
Our next activity involved small workshops from a variety of different professionals. Tracy Alexander, President of the British Academy of Forensic Sciences led us through a crime scene and how to collect evidence using DNA and fingerprints. Another presentation was about AI and how it is being rolled out in the NHS. A member of ACE, told us about developments that they are making to a programme that will help doctors to locate and complete surgery on lesions in the brain.
In our penultimate task, we were given national policing problems that ACE are looking to find solutions to such as: how to reduce knife crime, how to build public trust surrounding the police, and how to reduce domestic violence. Finally, we were given a presentation by Paul Taylor, National Policing Chief Scientific Adviser. He spoke about plans to try to replace police helicopters with drones to reduce costs and improve safety but also outlined some of the difficulties faced when making decisions like these. He told us about his education and career development but was very keen to get the message across that there is no one single path that should define us and that we should explore, carve and innovate our own paths.
Overall, it was an interesting and helpful experience, giving us more insight into career paths in sociology we can take after sixth form.