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

Training needs are an important topic of discussion, research and development for LEAs around the world. In that framework, LAW-GAME interdisciplinary team conducted a needs-based assessment on data that were collected and analysed by three research methods (desktop survey, structured questionnaires and workshops).The aim was to map the current requirements of LEAs for capacity building to respond in four (4) real-life police cases: 1) Crime Scene Investigation, 2) Police Interrogation and Negotiation, 3) Terrorist Attack Prevention and 4) Car Accident Scene Investigation. The questionnaire took under consideration all aspects required for the design of LAW-GAME training toolkit (Theory, Curriculum, Learning Management System, Serious Game).

Desk research was employed on bibliography, scientific articles and open sources focusing on the state-of-art in serious games as training system in police agencies as well as their technical and technological parameters, at a national, EU and international level.

Structured Questionnaires were addressed to a research sample, consisted of LEAs trainers (50%) and trainees (50%), and focused on four different scenarios {Crime Scene Investigation (26%), Interrogation and Negotiation (20%), Terrorist Attack Prevention (38%) and Car Accident Scene Investigation (16%)}. The objective was to collect qualitative and quantitative data from the end-users. The answers were given in anonymity and in a checkbox and free-text manner.The trainers’ group consisted of 88% men and 12% women. Their age statistics were: 30-34 years old 6%; 35-39 years old 42%; and 40-44 years old 52%.

With regards to their nationality, 42% of the trainers came from Greece, 12% from Lithuania, 20% from Moldova, 20% from Romania and 6% from Spain. In terms of professional experience, 6% of questionees had 1-5 years of experience, 34% had 6-10 years, 40% had 11-15 years and 20% had 16-20 years. Finally, concerning their area of expertise, 40% focused on terrorism, 20% on CSI, 20% on Police interview and 20% on car accident analysis.

Moreover, the trainees’ group consisted of 68% men and 32% women. Their age statistics were: 18-24 years old 6%; 25-29 years old 32%; 30-34 years old 24%; 35-39 years old 20%; 40-44 years old 6%; 45-49 years old 6%; and 55-59 years old 6%.

With regards to their nationality, 48% of the trainees came from Greece, 6% from Lithuania, 10% from Moldova, 26% from Romania and 10% from Spain.

In terms of professional experience, 52% of questioners had no experience at all (or did not answer that question); 30% had 1-5 years of experience, 6% had 6-10 years, 6% had 11-15 years and 6% had more than 20 years of experience.

Finally, concerning their area of interest, 36% focused on terrorism, 32% on CSI, 20% on Police interview and 12% on car accident analysis.

The third method included the organisation of four (4) thematic Workshops, during which LEA officers and researchers shared knowledge and best practices on  police use cases. The scope of the research meetings was to clarify and find out supplementary information on desktop survey  and questionnaires’ outcomes. Workshops, also, contributed to the building of a trusted cooperation between  the developers and end-users of the project’s integrated training toolkit.

The analysis of research data resulted in the capture of cross-training requirements of LEA officers, for the four scenarios, resulting to the below conclusions:

  • Teamwork will flourish, as the trainees learn how to work effectively within a team and seek to achieve a common goal.
  • Be able to apply the theoretical tools and demonstrate their ability to reach a peaceful resolution.
  • Training under more physically demanding situations, to make quick and effective decisions.
  • Improve the ability to prioritize the collected evidence.
  • Evidence integrity (e.g., chain of custody and contamination risks), recognising trace evidence, health and safety issues and relevant jurisdictional policies and legislation.
  • Layering difficulty based on trainees’ overall performance.
  • Synchronous channels of communication among team members (in multimode) and with the trainer (audio, video, chat).
  • The system will identify the profile of each user, mapping their personality and recording their experiences.
  • Development of a tool for the assessment of trainees’ performance.
  • Incorporation of Train-the-trainers module in Learning Management System (Moodle).
  • Direct interaction between the trainee and the avatar.
  • Parallel automatic recording of the trainee’s cognitive status. The assessment should compare the trainees consecutive and behavioural abilities and skills.

To sum up, the analysis of the research data showed that the combination of theoretical and practical parts of a training procedure are both vital to the structure of a training programme, as well as on the research and development of the same.

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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.