Training in a virtual world

A university business student has been working with West Mercia Constabulary to demonstrate the possibility of a 3D virtual reality world for police training.

Dec 13, 2007
By Paul Jacques
John Boyd

A university business student has been working with West Mercia Constabulary to demonstrate the possibility of a 3D virtual reality world for police training.

The project is part of the joint University of Worcester and West Mercia SPHERE initiative (Shared Police and Higher Education Research and Enterprise).

Twenty two-year-old student David Hatfield undertook the four-month project as part of his IT and business study degree. His work focused on the construction of a computer-generated virtual world and its feasibility for use in police training in search techniques.

Using the computer gaming design system Unreal, Mr Hatfield created 3D houses with detailed room designs, which could then be viewed and explored by officers.

Kim White, head of training and development at West Mercia, said: “David’s work has been genuinely imaginative and practical. The use of gaming software for producing learning packages is a breaking area of innovation at the moment and David’s project has real application.”

Dr Jan Francis-Smythe, director of Sphere for the University of Worcester, said: “This partnership enables the force to utilise academic expertise to enhance its policing activities and allows our students to gain real-life experience.”

Mr Hatfield explained: “A number of virtual training initiatives and systems are being explored by the police for future use and I was pleased to have the opportunity to be involved in this process.”

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