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The Project Servator patrolling method has been a go-to way of securing major events since the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which we featured at the time on a visit to Glasgow. The latest example of its use was around the G7 summit of world leaders, when Boris Johnson was host at Carbis Bay, north Cornwall, in June.
Sgt Peter Lucas of the Servator team at City of London Police – which began Servator in 2013 – described the case study to the recent International Security Expo at London Olympia. The main hosting and supporting sites receives Scan awareness training. That’s short for See, Check and Notify; whereby security staff (such as CCTV operators) and non-security staff alike learn how to be vigilant and report their suspicions, whether of crime, unlawful protest or terrorism.
More in the November print edition of Professional Security magazine.
Meanwhile, Police Scotland is running a six week campaign to highlight the work of Project Servator – the tactic designed to disrupt a range of criminal activity, including terrorism, while providing a reassuring presence for the public – ahead of the COP26 climate conference next month.
Supt Dave Marshall of British Transport Police (BTP) said: “We’ve been using Project Servator across the railway network for nearly six years now and seen first-hand the effectiveness of this tactic in deterring crime and terrorism, particularly when it comes to policing significant events. Project Servator will form a vital part of our policing operation for COP26, as we work closely with Police Scotland and our railway partners to ensure the safety and security of the travelling public.
“Passengers can expect to see specialist resources such as search dogs and armed police on patrol as part of these Project Servator deployments, but we need your help too. Please remember to keep an eye out for anything that doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts and report it to us using our discreet text number 61016 or 999 in an emergency.”
Around 10,000 officers will be deployed each day during the COP26, one of the UK’s largest policing operations.
City of London Police started Servator in 2013; typically officers (covert or overt, uniform and plain-clothes) will arrive unannounced at locations. These patrols could last for various lengths of time and involve varying numbers of officers; all to make a deployment unpredictable. Police from other departments such as dog or horse units or armed officers might deploy; as might security staff and CCTV operators. Attention to detail takes in communications, to reassure the public rather than worry them about the appearance of a deployment; including posters on display boards and the handing out of leaflets. Servator also seeks to involve regular site users, whether commuters or coffee shops, to report anything that ‘doesn’t look right’.
Photo by Mark Rowe; ‘See it, say it, sorted’ terrorist hostile reconnaissance awareness poster on a train carriage on the Glasgow Subway.