A policing tactic to tackle criminality including terrorism, Project Servator, is being trialled in Warrington Town Centre.
The approach, 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.
Project Servator sees the deployment of both highly visible and plain-clothed 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 be planning or preparing to commit a crime.
The tactics have been developed and tested by security experts at the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) in partnership with the City of London Police.
Police will work in partnership with colleagues from Warrington Borough Council and Golden Square Shopping Centre to carry out deployments in the town centre.
Ian Cox, Centre Director, said: “We’re fully supportive of this initiative and encourage all our staff, retailers and shoppers to assist in any way that they can to help keep our local community safe. If we’ve learnt anything from the last two years it’s that looking out for one another has never been more important.”
Project Servator was first trialled in Chester City Centre in June 2019. The team at Chester was then accredited in March 2020. Following the success in Chester, police are now trialling this tactic in Warrington.
Chief Inspector Neil Drum said: “I am really pleased to be trialling Project Servator in Warrington. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to talk to residents, visitors to the town centre and staff about the importance of being vigilant at all times, and to work with them to keep everyone safe and add another layer of security to our existing policing methods. This isn’t in response to a particular threat, but something we’re trying out to see if it can further enhance our existing security measures.”
Officers will also be talking to the public, including businesses. They will be asking people to be our eyes and ears to help keep people safe, and encouraging everyone to remain vigilant and report anything that doesn’t feel right. You can help by reporting any suspicious activity by speaking face to face with officers, or by calling police on 101. In an emergency, always call 999.
Warrington Local Policing Unit Inspector, Ruth Atherton, said: “The security of everyone who works and visits the town centre is important to us, which is why we’re working closely with the Golden Square Shopping Centre, local shops, businesses and Warrington Borough Council to make Project Servator a success.
“Our town centre is an incredibly safe place and this will further strengthen the visible and less visible measures already in place to keep everyone safe and secure.”