Merseyside Police marks four years of Project Servator
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This Sunday, 17 July 2022, marks fours year since Merseyside Police launched Project Servator at Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool. The policing tactic aims to disrupt a range of criminal activity, including terrorism, while providing a reassuring presence for the public.
These highly visible Project Servator deployments have since been expanded to a range of locations including, National Museums Liverpool, Pier Head, Liverpool Cruise Terminal, Liverpool ONE, M&S Arena and the neighbouring exhibition centre. Deployments can also be seen at regional events such as Aintree Races and city-centre parades.
Servator is a Latin word that means ‘watcher’ or ‘observer’, and the deployments use specially trained uniform and plain clothes officers to spot the tell-tale signs that someone may be carrying out hostile reconnaissance – information gathering that may help them plan or prepare to commit a crime. These officers will also encourage the public, including people working in local businesses, to be extra eyes and ears, and report suspicious activity. The aim is to build a network of vigilance made up of business and community partners and the general public.
Project Servator was first developed and introduced by the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) and City of London Police in 2014 and is now used by a growing number of police forces. In the last four years, Project Servator officers in Merseyside have dealt with a range of criminality, including the carrying of weapons and drugs, persons wanted on warrant and public order offences.
Chief Inspector Iain Wyke of Protective Security Operations at Merseyside Police said: “Deployments are planned proactively and are deliberately unpredictable, so you will see officers popping up 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.
“Along with our deployments, since April 2021, our Counter Terrorism Security Advisors (CTSAs) have helped us deliver specialist See Check and Notify (SCaN) training to 686 staff in local businesses and venues. This reinforces the network of vigilance in Merseyside by helping staff identify suspicious activity and ensuring they know what to do when they encounter it.”
Madeleine Farrell, Head of Security at National Museums Liverpool (NML), said: “Our partnership with Project Servator has been of great importance to us at National Museums Liverpool. Project Servator makes us part of a wider, connected community and provides reassurance both to our staff and the thousands of visitors who come to our museums and galleries every day. On top of this, a range of staff from across NML have been given the opportunity to take part in SCaN training, which has been an invaluable tool for us. As the project marks its fourth anniversary, we’re pleased to be continuing our partnership which helps to ensure the safety and security of all who use our sites every day.”
Iain Finlayson, Estate Director at Liverpool ONE said: “We are committed to partnering with Merseyside Police on Project Servator, and undertaking SCaN training, which together, are invaluable in providing reassurance and helping keep staff and visitors to Liverpool ONE safe.”
Chief Inspector Wyke added: “Project Servator is an invaluable policing tactic, and my thanks go to our community partners for their support, and to the members of the public who have engaged with our officers during deployments. Their assistance in reporting suspicious activity helps us to keep Merseyside safe for those who live, work, and visit here.
“Everybody has an important role to play by reporting any suspicious behaviour that they see or hear, or anything that just does not feel right. However insignificant you think something may be, trust your instincts and report it because your actions could potentially save lives.”
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.