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Antwerp police trained using virtual reality to prevent profiling

10:29 06/09/2021

A new training course in Antwerp uses virtual reality to train police to spot suspect behaviour. The idea is to improve profiling, the act of deciding who to stop and check.

The new programme uses a VR headset to simulate real-life situations and will be used to train some 2,000 officers. “The idea behind this is to train officers to think more critically about their checks,” says Antwerp diversity officer Kristof De Busser.

The simulations involve officers being in public spaces – a train station, for example – and choosing who to question based on behaviour – not on identity. The training hopes to move past profiling based on ethnicity, gender, age or other traits.

The sessions are followed by an analysis of the officer’s decision-making process during the simulation. “That is the ultimate goal of the exercise: to start a conversation about ethnic profiling, diversity and polarisation,” says De Busser.

Photo courtesy VRT


Written by Rebecca Rommen