The Royal Gibraltar Police yesterday launched a new scheme designed to deter, detect and disrupt criminal and terrorist activity in crowded places.
Project Servator sees the deployment of both highly visible and covert police officers and staff, alongside other resources including dogs, firearms and CCTV cameras in the city centre, other hotspots and at large events.
This initiative will enhance the RGP’s existing crime prevention and public safety tactics by adding “highly unpredictable and intelligence-led” deployment of officers.
The public will see officers specially trained to deter, disrupt and detect crime using tactics developed and tested over a five-year period by the Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure in partnership with City of London Police.
Project Servator has been successfully used and is already ‘business as usual’ for a number of UK police forces such as the City of London Police, British Transport Police Metropolitan Police, Essex Police, Police Scotland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland amongst others.
It was used extensively by Police Scotland during the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.
Key to the success of Project Servator is the support of people living and working in the community and visitors alike.
Members of the community are urged to be extra “eyes and ears” for the police, reporting any suspicious behaviour to help make it even harder for criminals to succeed.
“Building on the UK success of Project Servator in disrupting a wide range of criminality whilst reassuring the public, the Royal Gibraltar Police is now undertaking a programme of work to roll this project locally at various events and locations across Gibraltar,” said Commissioner of Police (Designate) Ian McGrail.
“In doing so, we are enhancing our existing tactics by adopting the best practice developed within policing across the UK, in order to help keep key sites and crowded places within Gibraltar safe and secure.”
“The active support of the public, community and businesses is key to the success of Project Servator.”
“Our officers are already in the process of engaging with local businesses and wider Gibraltar community to introduce them to the concept and to explain the vital role that they have to play.”
Mr McGrail said people should not be surprised or alarmed to see a heavy police presence in key areas over the festive season, adding that these were normal police operations to “deter, detect and disrupt” a broad range of criminal activity.
“The deployments are designed to be unpredictable and can turn up at any time,” he said.
“One day our tactics may be highly visible, the next we will be working in a more covert way.”
“You can help us keep your area and community safe by engaging with the Servator teams if you see them deployed in your area and by speaking to officers to find out how you can play a part.”
“We want to reassure communities that we are working together to keep everyone safe”.
The aim of Project Servator is to combine effective police deployments with increased levels of vigilance in the community targeting everything from pick-pocketing to terrorism.
“These tactics are not in response to a specific threat or the recent tragic events in the UK or across Europe, but have been in the planning stages for some time as part of a wider project to uplift our capability,” said Detective Inspector Paul Chipolina.
“They will be rolled-out in the coming months as part of our continuing work to keep Gibraltar safe by collaborating with our partners and the community that we serve.”
“There has been significant investment in training several officers both locally and overseas during the past few months, as well as the preparation of project literature.”
“We are now embarking on delivering awareness briefings internally and to key community stakeholders in parallel to our team deployments.”
“We are confident that local businesses and the public will be reassured by this approach.”
“They should know that they have a key role to play in all of this too. Their eyes and ears provide a surveillance resource that is second to none.”
Members of the public are asked to report any suspicious activity to the RGP by calling 20072500 if the matter is not urgent, or 199 / 112 in the event of an emergency.
The Servator team can also be contacted by email on firstname.lastname@example.org