Virtual reality training programs are becoming more and more popular in schools and companies across the globe. And now there is a new domain where this breakthrough technology is being implemented to help professionals train: police forces.
The police officers in the Welsh city of Gwent are the first law enforcement officers to benefit from a virtual reality training program. The police station now has a special room for the program, called “the cave” by police officers, which contains a 280-degree screen. This “cave” represents a fully immersive environment, where an officer can experience realistic scenarios and learn how to make the best decisions in stressful situations.
Virtual Reality Training for Better Decision Making
At present, the pilot program teaches Gwent Police officers how to respond to cases of domestic abuse. The virtual reality training program has 10 scenarios, which were developed according to the most frequent situations encountered by police officers in real life.
“[Virtual reality] provides the ability of a safe learning environment, which promotes open conversations about opportunities for options for action, investigation and safeguarding,” stated Superintendent Vicki Townsend for Digital Trends magazine.
This is one of the key benefits of virtual reality training: the ability to learn by trial and error without real life consequences. For law enforcement officers errors can lead to very serious consequences, from injury to loss of life. In the “cave” at the police precinct, officers are able to test various responses to domestic abuse situations and note how the situation unfolds depending on the choices they make.
A Step Towards A Safer World
The training of police officers across the globe must be a priority for all countries. Law and order can only be maintained and enforced by well prepared professionals, who can negotiate difficult and stressful situations with calm and self-assurance.
Through virtual reality training programs, like the one created for the Gwent Police in the UK, police officers can confidently tackle difficult situations, feel free to try various response options, and understand the mindset and behavior of suspects, victims and witnesses.
The pilot program in Gwent started in January and will end in May. However, Superintendent Townsend says that this is only the start of virtual reality training for UK police officers.
The domestic abuse VR training program will be expanded to include various other scenarios and will benefit from the input of other police agencies across the UK. This is just the first step towards a better, safer world, which we can build with the help of new technologies like virtual reality.