Police, military forces and security teams have used computer simulations in training for decades. Virtual and augmented reality are the next major steps in the field of cutting-edge security training technology, and they are already in use by forces throughout the world. While not long ago VR technology was still bulky and cumbersome, modern wireless virtual reality headsets and motion trackers now allow VR trainees to move freely. As a result of these improvements, adoption of the technology for military, police and security training has increased significantly over the last few years. So what are the benefits of security training in VR and AR, and how are they being used?
Why Train in VR?
Emergency response training has numerous challenges to overcome. These include a lack of time for first responders to take part in training, risks to trainees of engaging in live scenarios, expensive facilities to emulate environments and scenarios, and costly labour to conduct the training.
Virtual reality and augmented reality can help mitigate these challenges by simulating tasks and enables trainees to practice skills in lifelike situations without the risk of physical harm.
Virtual reality cannot replace real-world training however, it offers many benefits when used to support real-world training. The most significant advantages of VR use are reducing not just the risk but also the cost of ongoing training. VR can give trainees regular access to training exercises that would otherwise require specialized grounds and facilities, all of which have their own associated costs. With access to VR training tools, trainees get more hands-on practice, and more frequently, enabling them to make faster progress in their learning by increasing skill retention. The added experience can also provide more familiarity and safety when it comes to real-world exercises.
Additionally, VR and AR allow for training exercises that simulate scenarios and conditions that may be impractical, unsafe, or too costly to emulate in the real world, such as responding to an emergency in a crowded public place.
Tactical Training Simulations
Perhaps the most obvious use of VR for security training is the possibility it offers for creating and repeating tactical exercises and simulations under safe conditions. This can help trainees retain the skills and muscle memory they learn in live training sessions. Furthermore, it can give the opportunity to practice those skills under chaotic or stressful conditions, acclimatizing teams to situations they may face in the real world and enabling them to act more decisively. In fact, a PwC study found that people who receive VR training are 275% more confident in their ability to apply the skills they have learned after training.
VR tactical training can cover everything from simple shooting and equipment practice to creating a complete virtual environment that allows trainees to move freely. In some cases, VR or AR training can even include scripted, reactive, or human-controlled actors such as opponents or civilians. For example, the British Army has been testing VR pilot programs for several years as a means of simulating scenarios that cannot be recreated in live training, such as a chaotic crowd control situation.
VR training tools can also track detailed metrics about each team member’s performance in an exercise, enabling organizations to more easily collect data, analyze their effectiveness, and test the efficacy of new equipment and tactics.
Improving Training Safety
Safety is another major benefit of VR training tools. They provide the opportunity to practice using weapons and equipment under stress, without the risks of a live exercise. Although not a substitute for live training, the ability to keep skills refreshed using virtual reality training gives trainees increased familiarity with operating their equipment. This improves their safety when it comes to using the real thing in a live exercise.
Beyond ‘Use of Force’ Training
VR is a valuable tool for teaching tactical skills and weapons handling, but its use extends far beyond only training for the use of force. Police forces are increasingly using virtual reality to develop more consistent skills in de-escalating conflicts, situational awareness, and crowd management. For example, Californian police use a VR simulator to aid in crisis intervention training, giving officers more experience in assessing and safely assisting individuals in a mental health crisis.
Virtual and augmented reality can help security teams in addition to police learn skills such as de-escalation, negotiation, crowd management, equipment and vehicle maintenance, field medical aid, and identifying IEDs, traps, and other environmental hazards. For example, security company Corps Security now provide VR training to more than 70 security officers across several locations. This VR training includes modules covering managing crowds and protests, handling suspicious packages, and maintaining awareness of suspicious or aggressive behavior.
Virtual reality offers many potential uses within the security sector, and many organizations are already taking advantage of the technology to improve their training speed and safety. To find out more about how custom-tailored VR learning software can improve your readiness for operational tasks, get in contact with us today.
Visit vrts.be and contact Pierre Marien for more information about Virtual Reality Police Training.