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CORDIS - EU research results



Reporting period: 2020-11-01 to 2022-10-31

European first responder police officers are increasingly involved in threatening situations and need to perform correct decision-making and acting under stress for which they need to be better prepared. Police training is merely designed to include technical and tactical skills typically in classroom settings and do typically not include stress exposure. Scenario-based training is the clear consequence and European police more and more include it in their training. But training time is very limited and training complex scenarios in real-life training situations is extremely resource intensive. VR seems to be highly effective for this. However, VR training is not yet widely used, and organisations are still struggling with the question of where to start. SHOTPROS was conceived to bring these needs together and investigated the influence of psychological and contextual human factors on the behaviour of decision-making and acting of European police officers under stress and in high-risk operational situations (DMA-SR) to design better training to improve DMA-SR performance. The aim was to determine how training in VR should be designed so that police officers can make optimal decisions even under stress. The VR training increases the decision-making performance of officers, which leads to better and more correct decisions in the field to minimize casualties and collateral damage. On a societal level, the improved skills of police officers to adequately deal with threatening situations help to strengthen public trust and confidence in law enforcement agencies (LEAs). As a long-term impact, SHOTPROS contributes to enhancing the overall perception of the EU as a place of freedom, justice and security.
The SHOTPROS project started in 2019 and achieved all planned objectives by the project’s end in 2022. Obj. 1: A conceptual model of DMA-SR was developed and evaluated, enhanced and validated by several studies. The model explains 4 sets of human factors (personal, societal, contextual and organisational) influencing the perception of stress and consequently the decision-making and acting in such high-risk situations (DMA-SR). Obj. 2: Based on the model, differentiation, variation and repetition are the success factors for DMA-SR training of police officers. These results and requirements of LEAs formed the SHOTPROS VR training solution that was iteratively enhanced by LEA feedback and delivered as a ready-to-use training VR environment. Over 11 scenarios and a scenario editor enabled 6 field trials with LEAs executing training sessions in the SHOTPROS VR solution. The solution covers a set of validated stress cues, stress measurements, visualisation, trainer monitoring and manipulation options (trainer dashboard), after-action review as well as the simulated VR environment. Obj. 3: As a base for the third objective, current training and best practices in European police training have been investigated. Several studies with LEAs made it possible to consequently set up a DMA-SR training framework and to generate implications. It incorporates recommendations for implementing VR training in current curricula and didactical guidelines for high-quality VR training. Enhanced with videos per criteria this goal becomes applicable and not only meets the goals of the scientific model for enhanced training in VR but is accessible to other police organisations. Obj. 4: Based on information from end user workshops, technical requirements derived from various studies, end user feedback weeks and 6 field trials all over Europe, the project-specific guidelines for training scenarios, the human factors model for DMA-SR and the SHOTPROS training framework, the SHOTPROS final guidelines for VR training were elaborated. They comprise VR training guidelines considering software, hardware, resources, IT and data security as well as ethical guidelines. Obj. 5: The VR Police Network (VRPN) was established during SHOTPROS to connect all identified stakeholders in the field of VR and police training and to provide a platform for knowledge exchange. By the end of 2022, more than 80 network members from 17 different European countries have subscribed and the network plans several steps for ongoing development after the end of the project to continue to collect, share and develop knowledge and experience concerning VR and Police even beyond SHOTPROS results. A policy-maker toolkit covering a step-by-step guideline on how to introduce VR training into a law enforcement organisation as well as policies to be considered during these steps was set up. Communication, dissemination and exploitation were an integral part of the whole project mainly executed by showcasing the tool and the framework during 6 field trials in the last year of the project. The close involvement of several stakeholders from the minister of internal affairs in Nord Rhein Westphalia, to the Polizeipräsident Berlin, the Belgian minister of Interior and many others who joined during the project and kept involved until the end, made the dissemination work successful and paved the path for exploitation even after the end of the project. We visited over 40 target group-relevant events to present the project, published 13 scientific articles and presented at 11 conferences. A website with almost 25000 unique visitors and 45 referring websites was supported by social media campaigns resulting in almost 600 postings with over 6000 reactions and a social media community of 634 accounts. In general media, SHOTPROS was mentioned 60 times over the project period. The SHOTPROS final conference welcomed more than 130 participants from over 17 European countries and received great media coverage with 5 TV channels and several newspapers reporting on the conference. This overall awareness made it possible to involve management and policy-makers in different law enforcement organisations and provided us with insights into how to plan and execute a relevant exploitation strategy of the project. A commercial product is available after the end of the project and will be further developed into an enhanced solution that incorporates additional results. 2 of the 6 end user partners started an internal process for technology procurement and the other 4 started internal processes for requirements and need analysis.
Understanding contextual, social and human influence factors for decision making in policing. These efforts allow for an identification of factors to be trained in order to facilitate LEAs daily operations.
A set of validated psychological cues (events or triggers that lead to increased stress levels) 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.
DMA-SR based VR training environment developed and ready-to use (incl. in-and after-action monitoring of stress and behaviour; stress measurement suite, manipulation options and KPIs as well as the VR equipment for police situations like the tactical belt, avatars, assets etc.)
VR training scenarios and scenario editor to enhance immersive training and presence
Providing policy- and decision-maker relevant strategies in the form of a toolkit to guide the introduction of the framework and technology described above to European law enforcement organisations.
SHOTPROS - VR training overview
SHOTPROS - how to introduce VR to an law enforcement organisation
SHOTPROS objectives
SHOTPROS overview project
SHOTPROS - solution - technology overview