EU Project LAW-TRAIN Press Release
This is a press release of LAW-TRAIN. A downloadable version can be found in the press section.
LAW-TRAIN – Development of a virtual interviewing training system that aims to fight against drug crime
The European Union is funding the international Horizon 2020 project “LAW-TRAIN”, which will be established for the training of intercultural, cross-border, collaborative interviewing situations for European security authorities. The project consortium which is composed of universities, national governments, as well as companies from different fields of expertise, has run for over three years.
LAW-TRAIN aims and context
LAW-TRAIN’s vision is the development of a virtual training platform for European security authorities who belong to different organizations and countries. This platform aims to improve the abilities of these entities in the area of collaborative interviewing of virtual suspects. LAW-TRAIN’s long-term objective is to fight international drug crime through an improved collaboration between security authorities in the form of multicultural and multinational “Ad-hoc teams”.
The training platform is based around three different key innovations within LAW-TRAIN that rest on findings from extensive research in the fields of computer science and criminology. “Virtual Suspects” (VS) that have no ethnic characteristics, provide various changing attributes and parameters leading to multiple investigation scenarios in a realistic environment. The innovative development of a mixed reality simulator creates the potential of two different investigation rooms. The 3D environment is experienced by either a virtual reality headset or through regular computer monitors. The operating security authority, the “Trainee”, will be supported by a “Virtual Trainer” (VT) who will not only supervise the training sequences, but will also provide real-time feedback in order to improve the individual training results. LAW-TRAIN differs in comparison to other existing applications in particular by the possibility of multinational, collaborative trainings. Because of the virtual nature of the system, the simulator will be accessible from any country at any given time and following provides a round the clock training possibility. LAW-TRAIN differs from other existing applications in the prospect of multinational, collaborative training. Due to the virtual nature of the system, the simulator is accessible from any country at any given time, enabling the potential of round the clock training. Furthermore, to reach the state of the art, a coordination phase has been created to supplement the training phase. This phase gives Trainees the possibility of verbal and contextual exchanges within a multinational environment, as well as providing valuable experience in building new contacts with Trainees of different nationalities.
Status Quo at half-time of LAW-TRAIN
After the Kick-Off Meeting which took place in May 2015, the multinational consortium now looks back on the past first half-time of the project including the successful completion of several milestones. What has happened since the start of the project and where does LAW-TRAIN stand today in month 19 of 36?
The Structure and Content of LAW-TRAIN
LAW-TRAIN has been subdivided into eight content-related diverse working packages that have different responsibilities. The project management phase in conjunction with the dissemination & exploitation phase run throughout the duration of the project. Other working packages often interdepend on each other’s results.
Firstly in WP2, the user’s needs and requirements for the investigation methodology are defined, formulated in detail, and then subsequently developed in WP3. To ensure the best practice concerning the interviewing procedure, we decided to utilize the PEACE-Model. This respects all European and international rules and regulations regarding questioning and the human rights of the suspect. Finally the comprehensive legal framework has been built with respect to intercultural aspects.
The developed methods are then integrated into a virtual context. It is necessary to not only create the virtual platform and infrastructure, but also the virtual interviewing environments, the VS and the VT. LAW-TRAIN will provide different interview scenarios along with the creation of male and female VS with various characteristics ensuring cross-national collaboration. It is crucial to create new mechanisms which measure, support and display abilities in the areas of Interview, coordination, and group leading skills. Measuring the Trainee’s progress will allow them to develop and improve their abilities in these the areas. This virtual improvement will transfer into long-term success in the real world. All modules and optimized interfaces will be integrated during working package 7, which has already begun.
Milestones successfully reached within the working packages
The specification phases concerning the definition of the user needs and requirements have been successfully completed, and the second phase regarding the formulation of methodological approaches are soon to be finalized. The system design has been completed and the alpha version for the implementation of virtual training tools will be progressed to a beta version in a few weeks. The integration of developed modules has begun and the first version of both 3D environments in regards to the virtual development of the platform, VS and VT have been completed. An investigation room which abides by EU regulations as well as a court room are now available for interview training. Furthermore, the interaction between VS and VT is now possible. Language and interaction volumes are currently extended through actual data collections with the end users of the project.
At half-time on the project, all partners looked back on the successful cooperation as well as the completion of all required milestones before the deadline. The consortium is very optimistic and motivated regarding the work and progress in the second half of LAW-TRAIN.