As police across London step up patrols – including dedicated counter terrorism deployments – across the Capital this festive season, officers are calling on the public to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to them.
Following the increase in the UK’s terrorism threat level last week, additional patrols are being carried out by officers from the Met, City of London Police and British Transport Police, which include both unarmed and armed police patrols focused on busy and crowded locations across London.
These patrols are set to continue over the coming weeks, with many taking place in or around Christmas events, busy shopping areas and transport hubs. As part of this, Londoners can also expect to see ‘Project Servator’ deployments across the Capital – these happen throughout the year, but are being stepped up in the run up to and over the Christmas and New Year period.
These dedicated counter terrorism patrols involve specially trained officers who are able to spot tell-tale signs of people who may be involved in criminality, and also detect and disrupt those who might be planning or preparing an act of terrorism.
Specialist counter terrorism security advisors have also been working closely with event organisers and venue owners, advising them on what security measures they can put in place to keep their visitors and customers safe this festive season.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Specialist Operations Matt Twist said: “It has been two years since we’ve been able to get together and enjoy London in all its festive glory with some degree of ‘normality’.
“But, tragically, we’ve seen two terrorist attacks in Essex and Merseyside over the past few weeks, and as a result, the terrorism threat level has been raised from ‘substantial’ to ‘severe’. Therefore it is important people stay vigilant, and report anything that might look out of place or suspicious.
“I want to stress that the increased threat level is not specific to the Capital, so people should still go out and enjoy everything London has to offer at this time of year. But I would ask that you stay alert, and help us to keep you safe by being our extra eyes and ears. If you see or hear something that doesn’t seem right, then trust your instincts and report it.”
In the past year, around 10,000 reports from the public across the UK have been made to counter terrorism officers about suspected terrorist activity – either by calling the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321, or reporting any concerns online via www.gov.uk/ACT. Around a fifth of those reports provided useful intelligence, which went on to help counter terrorism investigations and help officers stop terrorist activity.
If you see something suspicious, either tell a police officer, report it online via www.gov.uk/ACT or call the confidential Anti Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321. In an emergency, call 999.
+ Project Servator deployments are highly visible police deployments, but they are unpredictable, so the public can expect to see them pop up anywhere and at any time. We encourage the public to talk to the officers involved if they want to find out more.
The number of police officers involved will vary from deployment to deployment. Not all aspects of the deployments will be apparent. For example, in addition to uniformed police officers, there will be plain-clothes officers present, and it may also involve the use of other units or capability, including dogs, horses, CCTV, ANPR or other measures that may not be visible to the public. In London, plain clothed officers on Servator deployments always work with uniformed police officers in high-vis jackets.
If there’s a Project Servator deployment in the area, there’s nothing to worry about. As part of their activity, those involved will talk to the public and local businesses to let them know what they are doing and remind them to be vigilant and report any suspicious or unusual behaviour to police.
Working with the community is a vital part of making Project Servator a success and you should always know if a Project Servator deployment is happening – this is not a covert policing tactic.
More information about Project Servator can be found at www.met.police.uk/projectservator or search #ProjectServator on social media.