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Expect to see more Project Servator deployments by police officers, around the UK, say the authorities during National Counter Terrorism Awareness Week, to December 4.
Servator-trained officers seek to deter, disrupt and detect crime using tactics developed and tested with the City of London Police. As featured in Professional Security magazine in recent years, in central London (pictured), at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and at mainline rail stations more recently by British Transport Police (BTP), the tactics are now to be rolled out across the country.
Servator sees visible and covert police officers alongside other resources such as dogs, horses, firearms, ANPR and CCTV in busy areas such as shopping centres and transport hubs. These deployments are unpredictable and intelligence-led and include officers trained to spot and resolve suspicious activity. Servator also seeks the support of workers and visitors in and around crowded places, acting as extra eyes and ears.
Developed and tested over five years by the official Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), Servator is in use by a number of forces such as City of London Police, Essex Police, Ministry of Defence Police and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.
To date BTP has carried out more than 400 deployments since adopting Servator in December 2015, at London, Glasgow, Cardiff, York, Leeds and Brighton. They were deployed at Edinburgh Waverley station for three weeks during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August to help deter theft. In that time six million passengers passed through the station and not one theft was reported.
The Metropolitan Police launched the scheme in some of its boroughs on Monday, November 28; and more forces across England and Wales will begin the training.
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said: “The public might see us out in force with lots of police resources like we have at the deployment in London today, and at other times we will be working in a more covert way.
“The aim is to combine effective police deployments with vigilant communities, and to be unpredictable and undermine the confidence of criminals and terrorists to carry out hostile reconnaissance.
“The threat level remains ‘severe’, meaning an attack is highly likely. We need everyone to be alert, not alarmed, and report concerns to us.
“A key element of Servator is that our overt officers talk to the people who use crowded places and encourage them to feel confident in reporting their concerns to us. Their contribution has played a large part in making Servator a success in forces that have already adopted the tactics. Working together with communities we can all play our part in keeping people safe from terrorism.”
Detective Chief Supt Scott Wilson, the national police coordinator for Protect and Prepare, said: “Everyone has a role to play in making sure we all stay safe from the terrorist threat.
“Project Servator involves proven tactics and training for police officers that will help to deter hostile reconnaissance. It also increases the opportunity for interaction between police officers and the public, provides further reassurance and helps deter and detect other potential crimes.
“Over the next 12 months, as we roll out Project Servator, people will see more high-profile deployments in and around communities and at key locations. These deployments will vary from one day to the next.
“The visible police presence, coupled with vigilant communities reporting suspicious activity, makes the difference between criminals being able to plan attacks or being stopped in their tracks.”