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Merseyside Police marks fifth anniversary of Project Servator

11 months ago

Merseyside Police marks fifth anniversary of Project Servator
Credit: Merseyside Police

This week (commencing Monday, 17 July 2023) marks five years of Merseyside Police adopting the specialist policing tactic, Project Servator.

The tactic used by Merseyside Police aims to disrupt a range of criminal activity, including terrorism, while providing a reassuring presence for the public.

In Merseyside, Project Servator was launched in 2018 at Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool. Since then, the deployments have been expanded to a range of locations including, National Museums Liverpool, Liverpool ONE, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Liverpool Cruise Terminal and the M&S Bank Arena and adjoining convention and exhibition centres. Deployments have also been seen at events including Aintree Races, city-centre parades and most recently during the Eurovision Song Contest.

Merseyside Police
Credit: Merseyside Police

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 conducting 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 National Protective Security Authority (NPSA) and City of London Police in 2014 and is now used by a growing number of police forces. In the last five 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.

Merseyside Police
Credit: Merseyside Police

Chief Inspector Iain Wyke of Protective Security Operations at Merseyside Police said:

“These highly visible deployments are planned proactively, and officers will appear at various locations, at any time. 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, our Counter Terrorism Security Advisors (CTSAs) help us deliver specialist See, Check and Notify (SCaN) training to security personnel and other staff in local businesses and venues. This free training helps staff spot suspicious activity and ensure they know what to do when they encounter it.”

James Francis, head of security at The ACC Liverpool Group, operator of the M&S Bank Arena, convention centre and Exhibition Centre Liverpool, said:

“Safety is always of the utmost importance to us. We want to ensure everyone who comes to our campus has an enjoyable experience and Merseyside Police – through Project Servator – supports us to keep customers and staff safe.

“We undertook a huge security operation with the recent Eurovision song contest and Merseyside Police was a vital partner in assisting us, deploying measures both on the ground and behind the scenes.

“The SCaN training that is frequently provided to our staff as part of the initiative is also invaluable.” 

Madeleine Farrell, Head of Security at National Museums Liverpool (NML), said:

“Since its launch in 2018, Project Servator has acted as a valuable tool in helping to keep our staff and thousands of daily visitors to our galleries and museums safe. Our customer facing teams and other departments have benefitted hugely from SCaN training, to help improve the security of our buildings and to reassure our visitors when visiting us. We are pleased to work in partnership with Project Servator to help keep our wider community safe.”

Chief Inspector Wyke added: “Project Servator is an invaluable policing tactic, and I must thank our community partners for their support, and to the members of the public who stop to speak 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 a vital 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 here.

Visit the Merseyside Police website here.

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