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Project Servator has been running in the City of London since 2014 and has passed its fourth anniversary. Briefly, it aims to deter, detect and disrupt criminal and terrorist activity, while providing a reassuring police presence for the public. Deployments are made up of a mixed of police officers (uniformed or plain clothes) trained in behavioural analysis to spot suspicious individuals, police dogs, armed officers and police horses (picture by Mark Rowe) that pop up at unpredictable places and times to detect and deter criminal behaviour and identify criminal intent, such as hostile reconnaissance by would-be terrorists.
As City of London Police say, joint deployments might be with the Metropolitan Police, British Transport Police and the Ministry of Defence Police. The Servator (Latin for watcher, observer, or preserver) approach is now being used across UK policing, with the City acting as a centre for training and mentoring other forces, including Police Scotland, North Yorkshire Police and the Royal Gibraltar Police.
Police Scotland used Servator at the Commonwealth Games 2014, as featured in Professional Security magazine; as was British Transport Police’s use on UK rail. The Metropolitan Police began trialling its use in two boroughs in November 2016 and now deploy over London. In 2017 Professional Security featured Servator at Sellafield, by Civil Nuclear Constabulary (March to May issues) and by Essex Police at intu Lakeside in our September issue.
Supt Helen Isaac oversees Project Servator at the City of London Police. She said: “It is a great honour for the City of London Police to see something they helped develop being successful in reducing crime. These police operations are very much ‘business as usual’ for our officers now and for the community we serve. It is great to see such a high level of engagement occurring between our officers and the general public and local businesses. We hope to continue working with them, and also our police colleagues, to make the UK a hostile place for criminals and terrorists.”
City of London Police officers have conducted 938 searches leading to 547 arrests. A further 233 vehicles have been seized and 174 drug warnings handed out. Officers have made 150 arrests for drug dealing and seized quantities of amphetamine, LSD, cannabis, cocaine, MDMA and heroin.