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London commuters stepping off their trains at Liverpool Street as the November print issue of Professional Security magazine was going to press were met by a police presence and a giant screen telling them that their next arrest would be along in four minutes. This marked the next phase of Project Servator in the City of London.
We’ve reported on Servator this year – first on the One New Change development by St Paul’s Cathedral in our May print issue; then from the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. October saw highly visible police deployments in transport hubs and sites across the Square Mile. Project Servator has been ‘business as usual’ in the City since February, but what distinguishes this latest phase of Servator is the joint deployment of City of London Police and British Transport Police, extensive use of plain clothes officers and the active request for the public and business community to be vigilant. Hundreds of bill-boards across the Square Mile this autumn will be asking the community to be the ‘300,000 extra pairs of eyes’ to help keep the City safe and to report anything suspicious.
Photo by Ashley Lewis: A City of London Police sniffer dog. As in Glasgow during the Commonwealth Games, Servator is about making measured – in every sense – use of all ‘assets’ including police horses, covert and overt police patrols, private security and the community generally.
On this new phase of Servator, City of London Police Commander (Operations) Wayne Chance said: “Our new Project Servator poster campaign alerts our 300,000-strong City of London community to be vigilant and to be the extra eyes and ears for our police deployments on the ground. They are part of our wider effort to deter terrorism and to detect crime.” This approach has been informed by the successes of Servator deployments to date. When asked ‘how likely would you be to report a crime you have witnessed’, 69 per cent stated that they were ‘very likely’ to report suspicious behaviours. Some 734 interviews were undertaken with city residents, workers and visitors in February and March. Since the official launch of Servator earlier this year there has been a 76pc increase in 101 non-emergency calls related to public reports of suspicious activity, 1409 stops and 74 arrests.
Replacing the old-style entry-point police deployments, these will be more reminiscent of the Servator presence in Glasgow around the Games (as featured in our August to October issues) where trained security officers from big City businesses patrol alongside police officers. Big business has been embracing Servator, as Danny Moody, Security Manager at CBRE 30 St Mary Axe Management says: “We are pleased to be supporting Servator and working hand in hand with the City of London Police. We have seen the benefits of collaboration in reducing crime and making the City safer for the residents, workers and businesses operating there and subscribe to the slogan on the posters ‘Together, we’ve got it covered’.” Another similarity with Servator in Scotland is the engagement of small business across the City who actively support the police in being vigilant, displaying the posters in their windows and giving out Servator information to their customers.
As Sgt Matt Timms from City of London Police, who manages the delivery of the tactics, says: “Our Tactical Engagement Officers visit the hundreds of shops, cafes and news vendors in our city locations and explain what Servator is all about and how they can help. These smaller businesses are the lifeblood of the City and really have their ear to the ground. We’ve seen through our reporting statistics that they, along with the public, really are vigilant and do report suspicious activity when they see it.”
For more on Project Servator, see the City of London Police website www.cityoflondon.police.uk.
For Servator during the Glasgow Games visit – https://www.professionalsecurity.co.uk/news/interviews/servator-before-the-games/.
And for Servator at One New Change visit – https://www.professionalsecurity.co.uk/news/retail/one-new-change/.