The Derbyshire Police Force in the United Kingdom is using Virtual Reality headsets to train Officers to correctly operate a taser, according to a report by the BBC.
Traditionally, officers would train using actors in padded suits with rubber knifes, firing a real taser with mock cartridges to apprehend the fictional suspect. But this method of training, it has been claimed, did not adequately reflect the kind of real-life circumstance an officer may find themselves in. Furthermore, a single mock taser cartridge reportedly costs the British Government £30 each, making an ineffective training routine very expensive. Instead, the Police Force partnered with Virtual Reality developer AVRT to generate digital scenarios that better reflect dangerous situations.
AVRT developed a large virtual reality space to do this. While wearing a VR headset and headphones, officers can travel around a virtual environment by walking over sensor mats attached to the floor. Taser Instructor PC Hannah Terry explained: “You do get fully emerged in scenario. You don’t think you will, by putting something over your face and ears, but as soon as that headset and headphones go on, you get straight into it.”
The implementation of VR experiences into the training of the Police is hoped to give Officers an ability to better control of volatile situations, increasing the public’s faith in their use of force. But some have been left questioning whether the VR experience is realistic enough to really replicate a dangerous situation, or even mimic the feeling of inflicting on an assailant a potentially very serious injury.