Virtual Reality Improves Safety and Saves Money for UK Police Forces

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The UK Police required a bespoke training programme for the newly created role of investigative officer. Each new recruit must complete a 15-week training program to become a fully operational officer and crime scene training is an essential part of this course. Officers must be able to effectively assess a crime scene and collect a range of evidence types safely and lawfully. It is vital that officers collect evidence in way that ensures it would be permissible in a court of law.

Why did the Force need VR?

Crime scene training could previously be delivered in two ways: creating mock crime scenes or shadowing trained officers at real crime scenes. But both of these methods present a number of challenges.

A fabricated set can be costly and time-consuming to build, demands a large area of physical space, and can require extensive resources to design multiple scenarios.

Attending real life crime scenes can compromise officer safety, particularly for high-risk crimes, and may not organically present the range and complexity needed to train officers within the required training period.

What are the benefits of VR training?

The VR training delivers multiple benefits over in person training and successfully eliminates a number of the challenges outlined above.

Improved safety - The training carries minimal risk as it can be delivered in a safe environment and there is no need for officers to visit real crime scenes until they are fully operational.

Supports remote learning - The VR headsets are easily transportable, reducing the need for travel between different local police forces for training, something which is increasingly important for COVID-19 safety.

Requires less space - The VR training requires no more than 2 square metres to train new officers, significantly less than the floor space and storage needed for fabricated sets.

More cost-effective - With no physical set, there is no need to hire actors or instructors, or source the necessary props, saving both money and resources.

Saves time - The virtual crime scenes can be modified quickly and easily to provide multiple iterations, making it much more efficient than changing a physical set or travelling to real crime scenes.

How has the VR training been a success?

By using VR the force can now train new officers in any location, even remotely if desired. Reducing the need to visit real crime scenes has improved safety for both new and current officers. The VR training also means current or future social distancing can be easily maintained in line with guidelines.

The force now has a library of virtual crime scenes that can be readily adapted to provide multiple training scenarios. The ‘drag and drop’ feature of theinterface requires minimal coding to edit these iterations, making it quick and simple to use.

The VR software, Visionary Render, tests officers on their progress, ensuring they are proficient before they can move on to the next stage. This digital feedback loop means new officers can train independently without the need for an instructor, which speeds up the training process and saves a significant amount in training fees.

VR has helped the force to create more cost-effective, efficient and safer training for new recruits.