An article prepared by LTEC (Partner of the LAW-GAME Consortium)

Advancing Police Training for Effective Car Accident Investigations

Car accidents are an unfortunate reality of our modern world, and forensic experts play a crucial role in investigating such accidents to identify the cause and provide evidence for legal proceedings. In today’s car accident investigations, procedures are followed by police officers at accident sites in order to determine the circumstances and cause of the accident. These procedures are ultimately a set of steps, a recipe that is implemented by the police officer in order to obtain results. How are police officers trained to implement these steps, and are the steps sufficient to guarantee a correct and efficient investigation? What can be improved? These are the questions the Forensic Science Centre of Lithuania (LTEC) is researching as part of its workings in the LAW-GAME Project.

LTEC is a state governmental forensic institution under the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania. Its main activities are focused on forensic examinations performed under civil, criminal, and administrative procedures for courts, prosecution, and pre-trial investigations. LTEC also engages in research and methodical work, training of judges and other experts, and recognition of qualifications. Following established best practices, LTEC provides theoretical and practical training to law enforcement personnel for forensic car accident examination scope, aims, objectives, findings, data sources, examination methods and conclusions.

Shortcomings in Current Police Training for Car Accident Investigations

LTEC and TIS (Consortium partners of LAW-GAME) completed interviews with trainers and trainees on the existing theoretical and practical training model and, having analysed the interview responses, the following gaps in the existing theoretical and practical training model were identified:

  • theoretical trainings are repetitive and overlapping, and the included visual information cannot be tested in practice;
  • trainings are too short without enough hands-on activities and real-case examples;
  • more sessions, especially in the theoretical training, are required;
  • lack of interactive material and group exercises focusing on collaboration;
  • officers are not able to use the tools for collecting data;
  • no personalization of the available contents and theoretical training being based on static presentation slides;
  • practical training and crash scenes must be prepared each time and cannot be reused for each trainee testing (e.g., objects are marked only once);
  • theoretical trainings are not measurable.

The LAW-GAME Project for Improved Training and The Benefits of Serious Game Play for Car Accident Investigation Training

LTEC has concluded from the feedback received from trainers and trainees that the existing training system is insufficient for police officers to apply their knowledge efficiently, and has extensive potential for improvement. In order to improve the training process, LTEC is participating in LAW-GAME – a project seeking to create a virtual, fully immersive 3D gamified training platform for law enforcement agencies utilizing interactive environments.

How can serious game play change car accident investigation, how can it help fill gaps and meet the needs of law enforcement, what benefits the end users can expect from this project?

To address these questions, LTEC contributes to the LAW-GAME project by assisting in implementing a serious game mode to change car accident investigation training, which has several potential benefits for end-users. Through personalized content, team and group activities, and a collaboration canvas, users will have the opportunity to exchange ideas for resolving cases and improving their practical knowledge. The proposed game also includes multiple scenarios with layered difficulty, which can increase the quality of training via multiple scenario analysis, games, and knowledge sharing. The investigation scenario selection will be based on trainees’ overall performance to ensure that the appropriate level of difficulty is provided. The serious game also addresses concerns around security and privacy of all data processed while running the training and ensures a robust chain of custody for evidences.

The Potential Impact of Improved Training on Correct and Efficient Investigations

By utilizing these features of the LAW-GAME platform, serious game play can provide a more engaging and effective way of training law enforcement personnel in car accident investigations. It can help fill gaps in the existing training programs and meet the needs of end-users by providing personalized and interactive training that is measurable and can be continuously improved. Ultimately, this could lead to more correct and efficient investigations, benefiting both law enforcement and the general public.

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LAW-GAME has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101021714.