This month (July 2023) marks one year since South Yorkshire Police began adopting Project Servator, a specialist policing tactic that aims to disrupt a range of criminal activity, including terrorism, while providing a reassuring presence for the public.
Project Servator officers are specially-trained to spot tell-tale signs that someone may be carrying out hostile reconnaissance – information gathering that may help them plan or prepare to commit a crime. The tactic aims to disrupt a range of criminal activity, including terrorism.
A trial of Project Servator was launched in Sheffield city centre in July 2022, and since then, following widespread support from the public and organisations in the area, the deployments have been expanded to locations across the force and to support at a range of events. This has included the Women’s Euros, Arctic Monkey's at Hillsborough Park, King's Coronation celebrations, Armed Forces Day in Doncaster, and most recently, Tramlines Festival.
Project Servator officers are supported by a range of specialist resources, such as drones, mounted officers and search dogs, not to mention the thousands of CCTV cameras located across the deployment sites. The deployments involve working together with other police forces including British Transport Police, businesses, event security staff and the public to build a network of vigilance, and ensure South Yorkshire is a difficult place for criminals and terrorists to operate.
Since 2018, there has been 3,966 arrests as a result of Servator deployments across the UK, which have seen everything from knives and drugs to stolen goods and wanted criminals being taken off the streets.
In South Yorkshire, in recent months, officers on Project Servator deployments have made arrests for affray, assault and public order offences, identified wanted people, taken drugs off the streets, and helped locate high risk missing people.
Reflecting on the anniversary and growth of Project Servator within South Yorkshire, Inspector Daniel Garside commented: “We are delighted to be celebrating one year of Project Servator at South Yorkshire Police this month.
“Project Servator deployments are vital in creating a network of vigilance and a difficult environment for terrorists considering their targets and individuals looking to commit crime.
“Everyone that lives or works in, or visits South Yorkshire, has a vital role to play in being our eyes and ears, and I would like to thank the public for their continued support in reporting things that don’t feel right to them. However insignificant you think something may be, trust your instincts and report it because your actions could save lives.
“If you see us out and about, come and speak to us to find out more about the work we are doing to keep you safe.”
You can find out more about Project Servator in our explainer video here:
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.
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