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Building a Chatbot with Coding Black Females

Principle One hosted a workshop with Coding Black Females (CBF), a group set up by Charlene Hunter in 2017 to create opportunities for black female developers to network and develop their skills. We invited them to explore how we can use chatbot technologies to provide an easy to use method for the public to report instances of hate crime in football and across wider sporting events.

Hate crime has been dominating UK headlines over the past year. Fans attending football games continuously highlight that the reporting processes for hate crime are limited or inaccessible; this hinders the effective investigation of incidents and exclusion or prosecution of offenders.

To prepare for the workshop, we talked to premiership clubs to understand what’s currently in place and how hate crime is reported. We found that despite acknowledging the widespread nature of the problem, the actual number of incidents of hate crime reported is extremely small. During the game, fans are reluctant to call a member of staff and often just want to forget about the incident once they have left the ground. So how could we use technology differently to make it easier to report?

We have been working with UK policing to look at how chatbot technologies can be used to make it easier for police officers to capture information quickly and in the right format to support investigations. We wanted to enlist CBF to explore how quickly we could build a chatbot on our platform that would create simple pathways to capture the detail that a club would need to be able to exclude an offender from future matches.

Our Business Analysis team kicked off by presenting the business problem before our Head of Engineering Delivery, Chris Spearing, presented functional requirements and outlined the development platform we had set up. Using pair programming techniques, our developers worked through a series of increasingly complex pathways, learning a range of new technologies throughout. This helped us test out our initial research around the accessibility of chatbots for this type of reporting and has given us insight around the ease and speed with which we can build intuitive user interfaces using the chatbot framework.

The evening was a great opportunity for us to network with a group of talented developers from diverse backgrounds and at different points in their careers – but all with a real passion for technology and problem solving that Principle One look forward to sharing with CBF again.


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