Police strengthen their network of vigilance across the North West
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Police officers from four forces in the North West have teamed up for a security operation aimed at strengthening their network of vigilance ahead of Christmas markets opening across the region.
On Wednesday, 9 November 2022, Project Servator teams from Merseyside, Cheshire, Greater Manchester and British Transport Police conducted patrols across the North West railway network and deployed at various locations in the centre of Liverpool, Manchester and Warrington.
These highly visible Project Servator deployments are deliberately unpredictable, and the tactic aims to disrupt a range of criminal activity, including terrorism, while providing a reassuring presence for the public.
The deployments use specially trained uniform and plain clothes officers to spot the tell-tale signs that someone may have criminal intent such as gathering information that may help them plan or prepare to commit a crime. Officers are supported by colleagues in other specialist roles including the dog section, firearms and CCTV operators.
Chief Inspector Iain Wyke of Protective Security Operations at Merseyside Police said: “During deployments, officers will 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.
“This operation has been a great opportunity to combine expertise from each of the four forces and demonstrate the effectiveness of Project Servator deployments not only at a local level but also at a regional level. During the deployments, officers made several arrests for offences including theft, possession of controlled drugs, breach of prison licence and public order offences.”
Sergeant Lee Keefe, GMP's Project Servator coordinator said: "Starting the deployment in Manchester Piccadilly we saw hordes of commuters pass through the station at one of the busiest times of the day. The officers spoke to hundreds of members of the public, partners and businesses during the deployment to reassure them and to encourage the reporting of suspicious behaviour.
"We regularly work with other Servator Police forces, and this means there is a consistent approach - criminals who are travelling in the North West region to offend run a high risk of being caught by our specially trained officers.
"Project Servator is a vital tool for keeping people safe especially with an increase in people using the rail network to travel into the Manchester city centre during the festive period.”
Chief Inspector Iain Wyke added: “These deployments will continue throughout the region and if you see one, there is nothing to worry about. Feel free to talk to the officers and they will explain what they are doing and how you can help keep people safe.
“Everybody has a vital role to play and what we ask is simple. Stay alert and trust your instincts. If you see something that doesn’t feel right, tell a member of staff or a police officer. Don’t assume someone else will do it. However insignificant you think something may be, trust your instincts and report it because your actions could potentially save lives.”
To report suspicious activity, 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.