Cheshire Constabulary becomes nationally accredited Project Servator force
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Cheshire Constabulary is now a nationally accredited Project Servator force following a nine month trial in Chester City Centre.
Project Servator is a policing tactic used to disrupt a range of criminality.
The specialist policing tactic, which sees police, businesses, community partners and the public working together, is already in use in various parts of the UK, including across the whole of London after it was pioneered by the City of London Police in 2014.
It’s also used further afield with the likes of New South Wales and Gibraltar taking up the tactic in their forces. The tactics were developed and tested by security experts at the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) in partnership with the City of London Police.
Project Servator sees the deployment of both highly visible and plain clothed trained police officers, supported by other resources such as dogs, firearms officers, Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and CCTV.
The deployments can happen anywhere and at any time and include police officers specially-trained to spot the tell-tale signs of individuals who may have criminal intent.
Since the trial started in June 2019 there have been 34 deployments in the City Centre, with 11 people identified as needing to be spoken to due to their behaviour, seven people were searched and eight people were arrested.
Sgt Graham Davis, who is one of the city centre’s Project Servator trained lead officers, said: “Our aim is to disrupt, detect and deter criminal activity in the city centre and we have already had some great successes, including arrests for drug dealing and shoplifting.
“But it’s not just about arresting people, it’s about unpredictable deployments any time or day to reassure the public and to make criminals think twice about committing crime because they never know when we’re going to be there.
"There are also officers you can’t see, who are there to spot and disrupt suspicious activity making criminals even more uncertain about targeting our city.
“It’s also a great opportunity to speak to shoppers and local businesses to educate them about how to spot suspicious activity and how to report it. This means that those intent on committing crime never know who is watching them.”
Superintendent Julie Westgate said: “I’m really pleased Project Servator is being implemented permanently in the city centre and that it could be rolled out to other areas of the county.
“We’re currently looking at other towns across the county that could benefit from having Project Servator trained officers who will be able to carry out this specialist tactic.
“This project has been proven to be beneficial among many other forces including British Transport (BTP), City of London and Greater Manchester Police, so we’re delighted that we’re now a nationally accredited ‘Project Servator’ force.
“By working with our partners and encouraging people to report suspicious behaviour, this makes it even harder for criminals to succeed and in doing so, enhances our long term security.
"We want all members of the general public; residents, visitors and business owners alike, to remain reassured that these tactics are not in response to a specific threat. However, we mustn’t become complacent - Trust your instincts, call 101 or report suspicious behaviour in confidence at gov.uk/ACT or by calling 0800 789 321. Your safety is paramount and together we will act on reports accordingly which will ultimately prevent crime and save lives."