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Near-Life™ receives Innovate UK funding for immersive police training

Police in a crowd, with text: Innovate UK funding, police training, Near-Life

We have recently received a £240,000 cash boost from Innovate UK to super-charge our immersive police training software with the help of Greater Manchester Police.

We will use the Innovate UK cash to bring our products to market early next year and eventually target police forces globally.

Based at the University of Bolton, we employ 12 staff and specialise in delivering immersive technology solutions to support realistic, online learning. The technology allows users to experience immersive, role-play style training which enhances engagement and knowledge retention at a fraction of the cost of traditional scenario-based learning.

Our company, founded by Mike Todd and Geseth Garcia in 2015, has used cutting-edge technology to support everyone from international aid workers to ambulance service personnel and business professionals. The new funding will allow us to develop enhanced police training to better prepare officers for the complexity of modern policing against a backdrop of continued budget cuts.

The new project will focus on creating more complex, gamified simulation technology to support complex investigations – an area of police training identified as of greatest need. This will be developed in close partnership with Greater Manchester Police. The initial focus will be on designing a new, pilot course in the fight against Child Sexual Exploitation.

Mike said:

“With the ongoing pandemic, it’s more critical than ever that organisations are able to access immersive technology that can help deliver realistic, remote training.

“We have been working closely with GMP to develop this project that will enable officers to better test potential decision-based outcomes around complex investigations, improving problem solving and decision making in a safe learning environment.

“The technology has the ability to better track performance and learning based outcomes, supporting an improved knowledge base and sharing of best practice.”

With Innovate-UK support, the development will be accelerated with the product launch aimed for 2021, two years ahead of target. This will enable us to offer our software to police forces across the UK as well as those overseas. Our technology can also be rolled out to other areas such as the fire service and the insurance sector: wherever complex investigative scenarios can benefit learning.

Co-founder Geseth added:

“Following on from our successful fundraise last year, this is a positive time for the company and it’s an exciting sector to be in.

“We’re pleased to get the funding which will allow us to scale at a rapid pace and proceed with our ambitions to become a lead provider in interactive immersive learning.”

Superintendent Gareth Parkin from Greater Manchester Police said:

“Within GMP, we have a commitment to constantly improving our learning and are always looking to explore the potential of innovative solutions that can help keep our communities safe.

“The funding from Innovate UK will enable us to work with Near-Life on this pilot project as we look to different ways of how digital simulations can support our work in tackling Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE).”

We look forward to launching our new product, early next year.

Need to find out more? Get in touch with our team.

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