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Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2020-10-31

The European street patrol police officer’s field of action is in a constant state of change and new challenges are emerging all the time. The number of incidents where police officers are first responders in critical situations with severe threat circumstances has drastically increased. A major challenge for these first responding officers is to properly evaluate the situation, decide how to further proceed and to assess and choose the most appropriate strategy. Such decisions are formed through a complex psychological process that is influenced by several factors. The SHOTPROS project investigates the influence of psychological and contextual human factors on the behaviour of decision-making and acting of police officers under stress and in high-risk (DMA-SR) operational situations. The aim is, to design better training DMA police training enhanced by Virtual Reality (VR). The VR training will increase performance, which will lead to more correct decisions to keep the guidance in threatening situations, and accordingly, to minimize casualties and collateral damage. On a societal level, the improved skills of police officers to adequately deal with threatening situations will help to strengthen high public trust and confidence in law enforcement agencies (LEAs). As a long-term impact, SHOTPROS strives to contribute to improve the overall perception of the EU as a place of freedom, justice and security.
The 5 Objectives of SHOTPROS are
Obj. 1: Evaluated and validated Human Factors Model for Decision-Making and Acting under Stress and in High-Risk situations (DMA-SR Model)
Obj. 2: Virtual Reality (VR) Environment that allows to manipulate Human Factors in the Context of DMA-SR and observe related Behaviour
Obj. 3: (European Police) Training Framework and Curriculum for DMA-SR
Obj. 4: Guidelines for VR Training (as a complement to theoretical and real-case practical training)
Obj. 5: European Network for Knowledge Transfer on VR Training and creating a Policy-Maker Toolkit
The SHOTPROS project started in May 2019 and made great progress towards the objectives since then.
Obj. 1 - A conceptual model of DMA-SR was developed and a research agenda for the validation and evaluation of the model has been compiled. Several studies with over 1000 LEAs have been conducted for validation and the data is currently analyzed.
Obj. 2 - LEAs needs and requirements for VR training were identified. The current VR system was updated to meet the requirements and to increase its capabilities. Then, a first VR scenario with different complexity levels and stress was developed. Also, a tactical belt, scenario components, non-player character were developed and improved. Furthermore, the concept for a physiological stress measurement suite for the real-time training evaluation dashboard was developed.
Obj. 3 - Current training approaches and best practices in European LEAs have been investigated and compiled to a catalogue. Several studies have been conducted that contribute to the training framework and models for predicting subjective Quality of learning were developed. The gained knowledge towards experience dimensions in training as well as the qualitative and quantitative methodology for assessing these experiences provide additional input for the framework.
Obj. 4 - End user workshops were conducted, and a list of requirements was compiled that concerns four domains: system set-up, actual training, debriefing phase and issues concerning data storage / privacy. These results were refined in workshops and meetings with LEA, research and technology partners. This knowledge was compiled to a set of general heuristics for VR training and guidelines were derived.
Obj. 5 - Relevant stakeholders for the VR & Police network were identified and contacts were established. The methodology for the network was elaborated with all partners and several community-building events were hosted. Also, studies that involved a high number of LEAs, have contributed to the development of the network by raising the awareness of SHOTPROS. In addition, SHOTPROS has had several meetings with and developed an initial toolkit for policy-makers.
SHOTPROS has made progress beyond state of the art (SOTA) in several aspects:
Understanding contextual, social and human influence factors for decision making in policing: Several studies have been conducted to validate the developed conceptual DMA-SR model. The model itself is a combination of existing frameworks and therefore beyond SOTA. These efforts allow for an identification of factors to be trained in order to facilitate LEAs daily operations. The results are expected to close the current knowledge and research gap and have a high academic impact.
Repository for VR based stress-inducing cues: A set of psychological cues (events or triggers that lead to increased stress levels) was created and implemented in VR. The selection of validated cues will then comprise a highly novel cue repository that allows to create a variation of VR scenarios that can be additionally tailored to the trainee’s personality traits and past experiences.
Police training for DMA preceding the use of force (UoF): The project has built a basis to advance SOTA in three ways. 1) the comparison and analytics of existing training curricula and several field studies contributes to the development of an innovative training curriculum that focuses decision-making process that precedes UoF actions. Thus, providing a complementation to the current technical / tactical skills focus reaches beyond SOTA. 2) the model of DMA-SR has been developed on a conceptual level. 3) a basis for the VR environment and scenarios based on the needs of end user has been developed.
Utilization of VR training environments as a mean of DMA training for police forces: SOTA has been advanced in several ways: a) first hand experiences with VR training from trainees / trainers, b) utilization of different experience related constructs for capturing subjective training performance and c) a comparison of two virtual training systems. Those results combined with the stress measurement suite and the risk assessment tool will contribute to the development of a novel dashboard for monitoring training progress to increase personalization and controllability of the training.
VR training experience assessment and related training experience and behaviour modelling: Studies were conducted to investigate different experience-related constructs and to derive a measurement setup. This measurement framework relies on inventories for Sense of Presence, Technology Acceptance and Quality of Learning Experience assessment, as well as visual analogue scales for mental exertion and stress. This analysis resulted in an experience modelling framework of 3 linear mixed models for predicting Quality of Learning Experience. Advancing SOTA on VR training experience assessment will contribute to the quality assurance of customizable VR training and allow for immediate feedback.
Wider societal impact: The efforts towards the objectives and advancing SOTA have an impact on several societal aspects. 1) the training curriculum will improve the overall capabilities of the LEAs, which will result in better and safer LEA operations and a decrease in unwanted incidents. 2) well-trained police forces can contribute to strengthen the perception by citizens of the EU as an area of freedom, justice and security.
Visual SHOTPROS The future of police training
SHOTPROS objectives