Under Project Servator, unpredictable, highly visible and intelligence-led British Transport Police (BTP) patrols disrupt a wide range of criminal activity, including terrorism, while providing a reassuring presence for passengers.
The officers that carry out these patrols are specially trained in identifying individuals who may be planning or preparing to commit a crime. This can range from someone shoplifting in a station to an individual carrying out hostile reconnaissance in preparation for a terrorist attack – the tell-tale signs that bring them to officers’ attention are the same.
Officers are supported by a range of specialist resources, such as armed police and search dogs, not to mention over 150,000 CCTV cameras across the railway network.
Project Servator also involves working together with other police forces, businesses, train operating companies and the public to build a network of vigilance, and ensure the UK’s rail network is a difficult place for criminals and terrorists to operate.
Since 2015 there have been almost 650 arrests as a result of Project Servator deployments across England, Scotland and Wales, which have seen everything from knives and drugs to stolen goods and wanted criminals being taken off the streets.
A few recent examples include:
- A man was seen to be behaving suspiciously at Wood Lane Underground station by Project Servator officers in August. Following a search, he was found to be carrying a quantity of class B drugs and a lock knife. He was arrested and later charged with possession of a class B drug and possession of a bladed article.
- In September a man caught the attention of plain clothed Project Servator officers at Basingstoke before going onto exchange an item with another man. The man was stopped and searched by uniformed officers and found to be in possession of a large quantity Class A and B Drugs. He was then charged and remanded with Possession With Intent To Supply.
- While on a Project Servator patrol at Bath station in September, specially trained officers recognised a male they knew to be wanted for failing to appear. He was arrested and taken to custody.
- A 22-year-old man caught the attention of officers on a Project Servator patrol in Manchester in November, after he was seen to be behaving suspiciously. He was searched and found with a stolen tablet from a nearby takeaway hidden down his trousers. He was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods and later reported for the offence.
Superintendent Sandra England said: “We are delighted to be celebrating five years of Project Servator at British Transport 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 uses and works across our rail network 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.
“If you see us out and about, come and say hello and find out more about the work we are doing to keep you safe.”