The simulator places officers in the heat of the action. Image: Pixabay

City of Cape Town adds firearm simulator to training arsenal

The City’s Safety and Security Directorate has launched a fully-immersive 180 degree firearm simulator to further enhance staff training.


The simulator places officers in the heat of the action. Image: Pixabay

The latest technological advancement will see officers from the City of Cape Town’s three enforcement services exposed to various high-intensity simulated environments, where they will be faced with split-second decision making on when the use of a firearm/ legal force is permissible.

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.

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With over 950 scenarios already loaded, officers will need to engage with a range of different elements to help sharpen their skills and the decision-making that will be required in the field.

Firearm simulator a first for sub-Saharan Africa

“Simulators have always been a prized training tool for some of the best policing agencies around the world,” said Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

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“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.”

“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.”

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Under the Criminal Procedure Act (Act 51 of 1977), South African policing agencies must evaluate situations before legally using lethal force. This assessment includes determining the imminence and lawfulness of an attack and exploring alternatives to lethal force.

Enhancing professionalism

“It is a massive responsibility to place on the shoulders of any person, even if they have undergone training. We are positive that the simulator will further improve our staff’s ability to make those split-second decisions, and ultimately save lives and further enhance the professionalism of the City’s enforcement agencies,” Smith added.

Apart from the extensive library of different scenarios that comes packaged with the system, operators will also be able to build custom scenarios that remain unique to their local enforcement environment.

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The simulator enhances training for new students by employing modified firearms that closely mimic the actual weapons issued to enforcement staff. This facilitates realistic training in basic firearms skills, such as firearm use, handling, and target practice.

The use of simulated firearms reduces operational costs associated with training, particularly in terms of ammunition expenses.

With the first simulator now installed and operational, the training of dedicated operators has gotten under way. A second simulator is expected to arrive within the next 12 weeks.

The cost of the complete simulator solution along with its installation totals R9 million, including two years of support from the service provider.