Following three years of intensive work and study by the United Kingdom Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), the City of London Police ran an initial pilot scheme which heralded a change in the way Police use tactics to deter hostile reconnaissance. Because of the way the scheme works, these tactics also have beneficial effects on crime in general. Following the success of the pilot and some further refinement, the tactics were launched under the name of Project Servator in February 2014. These tactics have been adopted by several UK Police forces already, and the Royal Gibraltar Police launched this project in Gibraltar on the 1st June 2018.
Servator is Latin for watcher, observer, or preserver. The logo represents a Police Officer, Police dog and 3 other people, who could represent a member of the public, a security officer or member of retail staff. The logo portrays both the collaborative ethos behind Servator and the use of a variety of Police assets.
Project Servator is used to deter, detect and disrupt a wide range of criminal activity while providing a reassuring presence for members of Our Community and visitors to Gibraltar. Project Servator deployments are unpredictable and highly visible. They involve new tactics and cutting edge training for Police Officers that are designed to deter, detect and disrupt a range of criminal activity, from Pick-Pocketing and Theft to Hostile Reconnaissance in pursuit of terrorism activity.
They involve uniformed and plain clothed Officers together with other specially-trained Officers. They are supported by other resources, such as Police dogs and any existing CCTV network.
We will turn up unannounced in a specific area to carry out patrols and engage with the public. They will be unpredictable, so they could happen at any time, last for different varying amounts of time and involve any number of officers and assets.
Hostile reconnaissance is the purposeful observation of people, places, vehicles and locations with the intention of collecting information to inform the planning of a hostile act against a target. Servator is designed to counter this activity.
These tactics have not been adopted in response to any specific threat to Gibraltar.
Protecting Gibraltar as an important financial services jurisdiction, tourism destination and safe community in which to live and work, remains a key priority for the Royal Gibraltar Police and, as the nature of the threat evolves, deterrence measures need to develop accordingly.
These new tactics will mean a more enhanced and strategic approach to protecting “Our Community” and is part of our continuous drive to deploy our resources more effectively.
The tactics provide reassurance to the general public, whilst deterring would-be criminals and making a wide range of criminals (from petty criminals to terrorists) easier to detect by specially trained Officers. The use of specially trained Officers has been proven to be very effective in detecting criminals and those with criminal intent.
Project Servator is very much “business as usual” for us and will operate across various locations in Gibraltar. You could see us in or near your area more than once a day or not see us for a week or more. The key to these specific types of deployments being successful in deterring, detecting and disrupting criminal behaviour, is for them to be unpredictable.
Don’t be surprised or alarmed if you see a Project Servator deployment being carried out in or near your place of residence or work, at our Airport or at one of our leisure areas. Our Officers are there to keep you safe. You may also see or meet Officers who are there to explain to passers-by or passengers what we are doing and answer any questions you have. Feel free to talk to them if you’re interested in finding out more.
Businesses and retailers have a vital role to play too. We rely on their support and vigilance to ensure our tactics in the fight against crime are successful. We are working with them to keep the Our Community and visitors safe by ensuring they too know how to report suspicious activity.
The Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce & Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses both form part of our growing "Key Stakeholder Partnership".
Displaying a poster in the window of your business during our operations. This may not be required in every area but an officer may ask you for your assistance. These posters will help to reassure the public and deter hostile reconnaissance and criminals.
You can play a vital role by being vigilant and reporting anything that doesn’t feel right, for example, an unattended item or someone acting suspiciously. Don’t leave it to someone else to report it. We want you to look out for the unusual – any activity or behaviour that strikes you as not being quite right and out of place in your normal day to day life.
You may feel it’s probably nothing, but unless you trust your instincts and report it we won’t be able to judge whether the information you have is important or not. Remember, no piece of information is considered too small or insignificant.
An important part of Project Servator is about telling people what it is that we are doing. The public need to understand the nature of our deployments and feel reassured rather than alarmed.
1. Explaining to your customers and employees about the nature of these deployments, specifically that:
2. It is important to us that we achieve the right balance between deterring and detecting criminals and allowing our residents and visitors alike to go about their daily business.
3. We are always looking for feedback, both good and bad. If you have any concerns or wish to discuss Project Servator with us, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Servator continues to be rolled out by Police Forces across the United Kingdom. Over 18 UK Police Forces including the Royal Gibraltar Police, are using Project Servator alongside other policing tactics to disrupt a range of criminal activity, including terrorism.
In September 2019, Project Servator extended its reach to the Southern Hemisphere following its adoption by Australia's New South Wales Police.