Premier teaching tool launched for detective
The Detective Training Division (DTD) of Police College has launched a computer-based system called "Detective Tour" for scenario-based desktop exercises for Standard Criminal Investigation Course (SCIC) and Advanced Criminal Investigation Course (ACIC).
In the history of detective training in Hong Kong, "Detective Tour" is the first scenario-based computer system used to run practical exercises in handling simulated crime cases. Completely developed in-house, "Detective Tour" principally aims at beefing up officers' abilities in decision-making and managing and coordinating crime investigations. The system is capable of diminishing the limitation of setting up mock crime scenes and arousing the learning interest of the Force's new generation of tech-savvy crime investigators, thereby enhancing the outcome of training.
The exercise scenario is carefully planned and controlled, giving trainers versatile and flexible control during training. Trainees are divided into syndicates, which operate in individual rooms with their activities monitored by trainers through CCTV connected to control rooms. At different stages of the exercise, trainees will be nominated as syndicate leaders to take part in simulated media interviews as the OC Case.
"Detective Tour" comprises three interfaces, namely email and Live Conversation for communication between trainees and various characters of the scenario played by trainers; Information Centre for sending to trainees results of their actions; and Decision Log for capturing and recording trainees' decisions and justifications for a more structured debriefing. To enhance the realism of the scenarios and to make delivery more interactive, the system has integrated a number of self-developed computer programmes including Virtual Interactive Exploration Walkway (VIEW) - 3D mapping for virtual reconnaissance of the crime scene; Digital Presentation System (DPS) - digital maps for marking sweeping areas; and First Person Role-play Simulation (FIRST) for media interview.
The system has been tried out on three occasions between November 2011 and March 2012 for inspectorate trainees of SCIC and ACIC. The results and feedback were encouraging, indicating potential for further development of more scenarios for different levels of detective training.
In support of Strategic Action Plan 2.4, Police College is also exploring the feasibility of enhancing the system through co-operation with learning institutions, for instance, introducing the technology of voice recognition in FIRST.
An SCIC trainee, Inspector Tsang Hin-fai, commented: "The one-day exercise required us to make decisions with justifiable supporting reasons. It was a fantastic experience as we could feel the stress as if we were investigating a real serious crime. The most interesting part is the fact that the end result of individual syndicates can be different and we are happy to have detected the case with syndicate effort."
Inspector Chan Sin-yee also said: "I am impressed with the innovative use of technology for training and the user-friendly computer programmes. I also treasure the opportunity to share experiences with facilitators and other trainees during debriefings."
Project Officer, Chief Inspector (CIP) Ngai Chi-shung, said: "The most difficult part is the design of the scenario and the exercise flow. We have to anticipate all possible courses of actions of an investigation and develop a multi-media database that can fulfil and respond to the courses of actions. The system is highly cost-effective and sustainable because all programmes, materials and props are ‘digitalised' and can be reused many times."
Another Project Officer, Senior Inspector Wong Shu-bong, shares CIP Ngai's view.
A Special Duty Team will be formed to produce sufficient scenarios for SCIC, ACIC and other DTD courses. The system also has the potential for being used in leadership and management training. A Chinese version for Junior Police Officer training will also be developed in the near future.
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