HTA to incorporate VR into training crime scene investigators, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

HTA to incorporate VR into training crime scene investigators

This article is more than 12 months old

Home Team Academy says this approach suits new-generation learners

The Home Team Academy (HTA) has incorporated virtual reality (VR) technology into its training for crime scene investigators, taking advantage of the digital habits of a new generation of personnel.

Since end-2017, 210 senior officers in seven batches have been trained on the platform, which simulates the real world.

The Home Team School of Criminal Investigation of the Singapore Police Force, located at HTA in Old Choa Chu Kang Road, collaborated with the Office of the Chief Science and Technology Officer to develop the technology.

Showcased on Friday last week, it featured a VR headset linked to a multi-directional treadmill that allowed the user to walk around a virtual crime scene and interact with it. The system detects hand gestures and movements.

The hardware cost about $15,000 for each set-up, according to an HTA spokesman.

VR training allowed for a realistic but safe and controlled learning environment for trainees to hone decision-making skills without fear of making mistakes, said the spokesman.

They would learn about gathering facts from first responders and witnesses and survey, collect and process evidence at the crime scene.

The HTA spokesman said this training approach suits the new-generation learners who grew up as "digital kids", with a preference for "self-directed and self-paced learning".

"The project also aims to bring about savings in physical space requirements, procurement of props as well as storage space for the props," the spokesman added.

The Home Team's adoption of VR is part of moves to prepare its officers. In September 2017, HTA started a trial for a mobile classroom (MobiC), to train front-line officers using VR at any neighbourhood police centre.

MobiC resembles a regular lorry but at the push of a button, opens up to occupy three carpark spaces and can train 16 officers in 40 minutes.

The trial is ongoing with the project team studying the feedback and assessing the continued use of this system to augment training for frontline officers, said the HTA spokesman.