The City of Cape Town's (CoCT) Safety and Security Directorate has unveiled a 180-degree firearm simulator to bolster training programmes for law enforcement officers.
The City said apart from the simulator’s vast library of scenarios, it will also allow for operators to customise scenes unique to the officers’ local enforcement environment.
According to the CoCT, the cost of the complete simulator solution along with its installation totals R9 million, including two years of support from the service provider.
“The first simulator has been installed and is fully operational. Training is under way with the second simulator is expected to arrive within the next three months,” CoCT’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith said in a statement.
The City explained that the simulator allows for the improved training of new students and it uses specially adapted firearms that replicate the exact look and feel of weapons issued to enforcement staff.
It allows for templates as used in conventional basic firearms training, including the use and handling of a firearm and target practice, which will reduce operational costs such as that of ammunition used for training purposes.
Smith said the simulator places the officer in the heat of the action, surrounded by large screens where they enter into various scenarios and move their way through different training simulations.
He said the simulators have 950 loaded scenarios in which officers will have to engage with a range of elements to help sharpen their skills set and assist with decision-making in the field.
Smith said simulators have always been a prized training tool for some of the best policing agencies around the world.
"While a conflict situation may arise within seconds, officers need to have the experience of when to apply the legal use of force or where a situation can instead be de-escalated by means of other aspects, such as with the effective use of voice commands,“ he said.
“We began the process of trying to acquire a simulator several years ago already, but with strict compliance to procurement practices, we are proud that the time has now arrived. This particular acquisition is a first for sub-Saharan Africa, and will further enhance the training already available to our staff, whether new or existing.”
Smith said they are positive that the simulator will further improve officers' ability to make split-second decisions and ultimately save lives.