Greater Manchester police use virtual reality equipment to help officers train them to understand what the victims of hate crimes are going through.
The force has been working closely with Mother Mountain Productions to develop the new training project, called Affinity.
How it works?
Officers put on virtual reality headsets that carry them to the skin of a hate crime victim. They experience three different scenarios based on real-life incidents:
Each video begins with the introduction of a real victim who has provided a first-hand account of what happened to them and how it made them feel.
The video then goes on to the actors who star in the incident, becoming the victim of the person wearing the headset. The officer being trained adopts the height, the posture of the victim and, in the case of the incident of the hate crime with a disability, his visual disability.
The third section of virtual reality training explores two different responses from police officers: one in which the victim felt good and another in which the victim felt they could be improved.
GMP says the goal of the training technique, which began rolling out in the spring, is to provide officers with knowledge and understanding of victims ’experience and help them deal with and respond to this type of victimization. crimes.
GMP and Mother Mountain Productions received guidance from partners such as The Proud Trust, The RNIB, The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, Trans Forum and The Community Safety Trust, to ensure that training encompasses the real experiences of victims and is an effective tool. and relevant learning for officers.
GMP ACC’s Chris Sykes said: “GMP’s key goal is to make Greater Manchester a safe and pleasant place to live, work and visit. This is regardless of your history or identity.
“The impact of hate crime on the victim can be far-reaching and life-changing. We know that hate crimes are not yet reported, but by empowering our agents with empathy and understanding for victims, we can ensure that we take the right action in dealing with these incidents, sending a message to victims to receive support and treatment with respect and showing offenders that there is no room for hatred or discrimination in our vibrant and diverse city.
“We are fully committed to investing in our officers and ensuring that they are equipped with the skills they need to deal with incidents with confidence and understanding. This new pioneering form of training gives our officers a new perspective on hate crimes, which it allows us to offer a better level of service to the public, really focused on the victims. ”
Jude Traharne, CEO of Mother Mountain Productions, said: “Putting people in the shoes of another person, whether they are trans people, have a disability or be of another race or religion, is key not only to understanding their position, but to having more empathy and compassion.
Victims of hate crimes tell us that even though the police generally do a good job, they often don’t feel fully understood and that officers have a hard time relating to them. Sometimes, what the police believe to be a much minor incident, has a massive lifelong impact on the victim and this is because the hate crime is an attack on a person’s basic identity.
” Officers have a chance to become a victim for a short time and what we are seeing has a big impact on their ability to empathize with the person who is suffering. ‘