Police and partners plan for a busy year of events in 2023
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As we near the end of a year that has seen the return of many large-scale events, Merseyside Police and its partners are already preparing for an even busier programme of events in 2023.
The work of Merseyside Police’s Force Operations department goes on behind the scenes, but it is crucial to ensuring the safety of those attending crowd-pulling events, whether they are residents, visitors, racegoers, fans or party members.
From the Labour Party Conference and the Liverpool FC Victory Parade, through to Aintree Races, officers have worked closely with community partners on security planning, training and sharing good practice. More recently, this partnership working led to Liverpool City Council implementing new security measures to control vehicular access to the Christmas Market at St George’s Hall.
Chief Inspector Iain Wyke of Protective Security Operations at Merseyside Police said: “Planning for these events is a complex process and the installation of the new barriers at the Christmas market is an example of the sort of security measures that we discuss with partners well in advance. Our approach is all about supporting partners with the smooth running of these events, disrupting any potential criminal activity and making sure that members of the public and staff are kept safe.
“We have already been looking ahead to 2023 for some time. Not only will we have the annual events that have become a familiar entry on many calendars around the country, such as Aintree Races and Southport Air Show, but we will also have unique events such as the coronation of King Charles III and the Eurovision Song Contest. Add to that, the return of the Open Golf Championship and the Labour Party Conference, and 2023 is shaping up to be a busy year for operational planning.”
Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy, Councillor Harry Doyle, said: “Liverpool is a city renowned for successfully staging major events, but very few people are aware of the intense and complex planning that goes on behind the scenes, months – sometimes years - in advance.
“Partnership is key to everything we do, and I’m incredibly proud of the relationship we have built with Merseyside Police over the years which is central to ensuring the safety of everyone who attends or works on one of our many events. From grassroots activities to major crowd-pulling spectacles, safety is at the heart of everything we do and with a busy 2023 to look forward to, our work with Merseyside Police and other partners across the city region will be pivotal to its success.”
The work of Force Operations also includes the coordination of policing tactics such as Project Servator, which aims to disrupt a range of criminal activity, including terrorism, and build a network of vigilance made up of business and community partners and the general public.
Many members of the public will have seen Project Servator deployments in the city centre and at large events throughout Merseyside. The deployments are deliberately unpredictable and use specially trained uniform and plain clothes officers to spot the tell-tale signs that someone may have criminal intent. These officers will also encourage the public, including people working in local businesses, to be extra eyes and ears, and report suspicious activity.
Chief Inspector Wyke added: “Project Servator is an invaluable policing tactic and during the run up to Christmas, officers have made numerous arrests and dealt with offences which have resulted in knives, controlled drugs and counterfeit currency all being taken off the streets.
“Operations are planned proactively and with a busy calendar of events in 2023, you can expect to see deployments appearing at various locations, at any time and in any weather. We use a range of police assets, including police dogs, horses, armed officers, and live-monitored CCTV. Sometimes, we will use these assets in conjunction with vehicle checkpoints.
“If you do see a Project Servator deployment, do not be alarmed. It is all part of the extensive planning that we do to help keep you safe. If you have any queries, just ask the officers and they will be happy to explain what they are doing and how you can also help keep people safe by reporting any anything that does not feel right.”
Everyone can play a vital role in helping to keep each other safe. Report suspicious activity immediately to a member of staff or a police officer. Or call the police on 101. Suspicious activity is anything that seems out of place, unusual or does not seem to fit in with day-to-day life. If it is an emergency, always call 999.
Guidance on how to help, including what suspicious activity to look out for, and confidential reporting is available at www.gov.uk/act.
Calendar of notable events in 2023
Chinese New Year: 22 Jan 2023
Aintree Races: 12-15 Apr 2023
King's Coronation: 8 May 2023
Eurovision Song Contest: 9-13 May 2023
Champions League Final: 10 June 2023
LOL Parade: 10-12 July 2023
Southport Air Show: July 2023
Open Golf Championship: 20-23 July 2023
Liverpool Pride: 29 July 2023
Reminisce Music Festival: 9 Sept 2023
Labour Party Conference: 8-11 October 2023
Armistice Day: Sat 11 Nov and Remembrance Sunday: 12 Nov 2023