Dubai Police Force Trains Cadets on Virtual Crime Scenes

Large_AROTECH_090408 About a month ago we reported on how Dubai is hosting a virtual worlds summit designed to promote online gaming in the Emirates.

Now the scope of Dubai's interest in online gaming takes on a new dynamic as the country's police opt to use "virtual training" to hone skills and study matters of real-world life and death.

Pixels and Policy looks at how one corner of the Middle East is rapidly becoming a techno-state.

Virtual Training, Real Tracking

Dubai's police force is learning how to deal with potential crime scene situations without any risk, thanks in part to virtual technology developed at the new Virtual Training Section of Dubai's Police General Headquarters. According to the Virtual Training Section's director, testing officers in the virtual world helps them overcome routine mistakes:

"These games help cadets make the transition to real-life situations.
Plus they're fun; the trainees want to take them home," he said.Gaming
also lets them make mistakes which can otherwise be costly in the real
world, he added. Besides their own instincts, players can use many
tools.

They can use measuring tape to size up car skid marks; snap
pictures of impact points; collect samples like glass pieces for la
tests; use flash lights and even call a police operations room.

More importantly, the progress of individual cadets can be tracked from initial intake to graduation, meaning cadets who fall short in one area can brush up on their policing skills before they receive their first real-world call.

Virtual tracking also helps the police department zero in on officers with particular skill sets, easing the difficulty of specialization. By looking at cadets who consistently score at the top of their class in certain virtual world programs and comparing those results to real-world testing, departments could easily develop a promising cadet into a specialist.

Moving Beyond the Persian Gulf

Dubai's police are not the first to make use of virtual dry-runs of emergency situations. Recall that St. George's Hospital in England pioneered a virtual emergency training simulator with impressive results, and virtual nursing programs have been common in the Metaverse for some time. Dubai's police training program merely provides training for a different end of the emergency response system.

Dubai's police force may be onto something, as the National Security Institute recently wrote up some interesting thoughts on the utility of virtual training for law enforcement. Though not a panacea, the NSI report notes that the training quality of virtual worlds is rapidly becoming a valuable tool, and that virtual training can provide a genuine service to officers looking to improve their skills.

Depending on how Dubai's new cadets evolve during the program, virtual law enforcement training could expand well beyond the Persian Gulf. If evidence from virtual medical emergency training is any indicator, the Dubai police force will find virtual worlds an excellent resource for simulating real-world situations where quick thinking and precise actions are required. 

Could we be seeing an evolution in how we train our most basic emergency responders? Are we ready for police officers trained entirely in virtual worlds?