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The SUBCOP concept

FP7 project SUBCOP is addressing the ethical dilemma of suicide bombing interventions

To avoid the risk of lethal injuries to innocent bystanders and to first responders, the taking of the life of a suspected bomber can be a necessary action in the acute phase of an emerging suicide bomb attack. If in the end the suspicion turns out not to be sustained, a life of an innocent is lost. But does it always have to be this way?

The project research tackles this challenge using a holistic perspective and by combining ethical considerations with the development of cutting edge technology.
SUBCOP assesses and develops technology and methods to meet three overarching objectives:

  • SEPARATE the suspected bomber from bystanders
  • PROTECT bystanders and first responders from the explosion effects should the bomb detonate and protect against the possibility of remote initiation
  • ENGAGE with the suspect effectively and non-lethally

On a STRATEGIC level, SUBCOP provides supporting tools and guidance to assess, procure and train for balanced decision- making during the response to a serious and potentially lethal situation whilst at the same time considering the safety of bystanders and responders as well as the rights of every individual.

Project SUBCOP also delivers ethical handbooks for tool developers and practitioners which are essential in paving the way for the future development and implementation of non-lethal alternatives to PBIED interventions.

The SUBCOP setting is typically a location where there can be some level of situational control,
like a metro station or transportation hub.


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