POLICE in Scotland have agreed to pay more than £100,000 for actors to provide recruits with training.
The move came after the trainees complained about the unrealistic nature of role-playing scenarios
Glasgow-based Interact Roleplay is to be paid 58,660 a year for two years to create real-life scenarios for rookies to practise on at the Scottish Police College.
And more experienced officers will also face the actors as they learn leadership skills and refresh their learning.
The move came after feedback from previous trainees said that the role play carried out at the college was not realistic enough.
And after a couple of years of trials, the Scottish Government police body, the Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA), has decided to formally contract a company to provide the service.
Recruits return to Tulliallan for a second round of training after spending a year working in the community. They have to undergo a round of assessment that includes role play exercise. It used to be carried out by the training staff at the college.
But as the officers have already spent 12 months dealing with the public, they complained to their superiors that they found it difficult to pretend the staff were real life victims, prompting the decision to bring actors in to carry out the training.
A spokesman from SPSA said: "What they (the school] had found over many years was that when officers had returned they had real world experience and the role playing situations carried out by the trainers weren't realistic enough.
"Professional actors give realistic scenarios. They act out various situations including domestic abuse situations, street scenes like someone being searched for drugs."
The spokesman added: "The actors are given a brief so they can interact with the officers.
"Having professional actors doing it just makes it much more realistic. It is the final assessment before an officer is called to go and do their active duties, so it is important to make it as realistic as possible."
The SPSA was set up in 2007 to take on responsibility for certain Scottish central police services such as the drug enforcement agency, the criminal records office and the police college.
The body's spokesman added that the hiring of actors was something that had been done on an ad hoc basis in the past, but that because it had become a more frequent occurrence, the decision was taken to set up a contract for it.
The company who won the contract have done work with the police college before and specialise in providing "real people in training solutions".
On the website, they offer "a pool of experienced male and female actors with a wide variety of playing ages and ethnicity. These actors use their professional training and life experience to bring the element of 'reality' that is so important to role play situations".
The company claims to have worked with a number of police forces, as well social service departments and health services.
They even have a testimonial on their website from Inspector Brian Rodgers at the Scottish Police College.
He wrote: "Using Interact Roleplay has given realism and quality to our scenarios. They work together with our team at Tulliallan, making the training courses realistic and enjoyable as well as professional."