WA Police to deploy VR to train cops for high-risk scenarios

WA Police Virtual Reality

The WA Police Force will look to roll out a new virtual reality training system to help prepare front-line officers for a number of ‘use of force’ scenarios.

In a request for tender released on Tuesday, WA Police has called for the provision of a Virtual Reality Interactive Tactical Training System (VRITTS) that is able to “immerse the officer’s consciousness so they react as they would if the scenario was real.”

To be equipped to train both new recruits and in-service officers, the Force called for a minimum of 10 law enforcement scenarios” to be embedded within the new VR system, including Active Armed Offender and ‘use of force scenarios’, such as actions with knives, batons, tasers, and vehicle stops.

A spokesperson for WA Police confirmed it is the Force’s first-ever rollout of a virtual reality system for front-line officer training.

The contracted VR developer will be required to provide 12 portable and ‘complete’ VR units, which include headsets, controllers, sensors, lighthouses (used for position tracking), software, laptops and other ‘accoutrements’ that can interact with the system.

Such accoutrements include replicas of handguns (Glocks), tasers and OC (or ‘pepper’) spray, as well as the ability to add baton and long arm rifle capabilities.

“WA Police Force requires a product that is user friendly to ensure that training is fast and efficient,” tender documents state.

“Scenarios must be of relevance to the WA Police Force and include situations that an officer could be expected to face in the real world.”

While not at liberty to disclose its precise investment in the new VRITTS, the spokesperson confirmed it would be “in the high six-figure range”.

WA Police has also called for the new system to be ready to add “custom scenarios, specific to [its needs]”. Trainers should also be able to intervene and adapt existing scenarios ‘on the fly’ during training.

Conscious that most off-the-shelf VR systems are developed for the North American market, WA Police called for the VRITTS to be “’Australianised’ where necessary” – for instance, ensuring simulated vehicles are right-hand drive only.

The contracted VRITTS provider will be called on to deliver face-to-face training for 20 first-time users at WA Police’s main training hub, Joondalup Police Academy.

The submissions for the tender close on Thursday, 31 March 2022.