SINGAPORE - Front-line police officers now have greater access to simulation training with the opening of a new satellite centre at Tanglin Police Division.
Officers can practise reacting to various emergency scenarios, such as when people are trapped in their homes, attempt suicide, or if a suspicious parcel is spotted in public.
Launched on April 9, the satellite centre is an addition to the simulation centre in the Home Team Academy (HTA) in Choa Chu Kang that opened roughly three years ago.
HTA's simulation centre focuses primarily on training officers to manage large-scale security incidents, such as riots, and joint operations.
The new satellite centre extends simulation training beyond this group to include front-line officers who operate on a smaller scale - responding to 999 emergency calls, for example. Around 10 such sessions have been conducted so far.
As in a virtual reality game, officers in different rooms watch scenes unfold in 3D on their screens as they react and communicate through their headsets.
The satellite centre is split into three sections - the control room, command post and on-scene pods.
The directors of the exercise are stationed in the control room to execute scenarios and control the flow of the exercise.
The command post, which holds up to five officers, is where orders are issued to the responders.
Two first responders are stationed at the on-scene pods. They are required to act quickly and their actions are reflected live on the screens of the officers at the command post.
"More than 2,000 officers have undergone training (at HTA's simulation centre) and gave feedback that it is realistic and immersive. It allows them to practise in a safe environment without the fear of making mistakes," said Superintendent Jerlyn Tan, senior assistant director of the centre for Home Team Simulation.
"Because of the positive feedback... we want to bring this simulation system to front-line officers and allow them to use it at a higher frequency," said Supt Tan.
Up to 40 commanders and officers from different Home Team departments can be trained at the same time in joint operations across Tanglin Police Division and the HTA.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Andy Wang, who trains front-line officers to perform their duties, said: "The satellite centre allows for training to be conducted frequently with fewer logistics, manpower and set-up time."
Tackling a bomb threat in Orchard Road, for example, can be mimicked in a simulation without having to cordon off or close down the busy shopping district.
Said Supt Tan: "There is an ongoing review for the satellite centre on its effectiveness... Looking forward, it's definitely our aim to develop more of such centres with the various Home Team departments."