Did anyone notice that there were City of London Police Officers on Main Street yesterday?
The London-based cops, from the UK National Project Servator team, have been in Gibraltar this week to deliver specialist tactical training to Royal Gibraltar Police Commanders.
Project Servator is a policing tactic used to disrupt a wide range of criminal activity, including pick-pocketing, theft, hostile reconnaissance and terrorism activity.
First introduced into British policing in 2014, it has since been adopted by 26 UK police forces, by the RGP in June 2018, and in Australia in 2019.
During the intensive five-day course, the London officers also delivered Continuous Professional Development training to RGP officers who had previously qualified in this policing tactic.
As part of the training, the officers completed a series of classroom-based sessions and practical deployments across Gibraltar in conjunction with high-visibility patrols throughout Thursday and Friday, which included written and practical assessments.
During one of Thursday’s deployments, a local man was arrested after he was challenged and arrested by officers following the alleged theft of items from a Main Street shop.
Since 2018, the City of London officers have been to the Rock half a dozen times to provide specialist Project Servator training – as the City of London Police is where the policing tactic was originally developed.
This latest training is being delivered by Police Sergeant Dan Tulloch, from the City of London Police and Police Constable Steve Davis, who is from Avon and Somerset Police and is on secondment in the capital.
PS Tulloch, who has been a police officer for 15 years, said: “Project Servator is really important in a place like Gibraltar. It’s essential that officers here are upskilled and keep up to date with some UK policing operational tactics. It’s all about being proactive, not reactive.”
He added that the arrest of a man by Project Servator officers on Thursday showed how the policing tactic gets results.
“Project Servator officers are trained to detect the tell-tale signs of criminality. It’s about training officers to be vigilant and to encourage members of the community to report suspicious behaviour to us.”
Chief Inspector Paul Chipolina, who coordinates Project Servator activity as part of a wider portfolio in the RGP, explained that specialist officers deploy unpredictably with a range of assets across Gibraltar’s points of entry, leisure areas and crowded places, working with partners in Gibraltar’s Essential Services and the business community, with deployments providing a reassuring presence for the community and visitors to the Rock.
He continued: “As part of ensuring business as usual in achieving Gibraltar’s Annual Policing Plan priorities relating to National Security, our officers continue to receive specialist training throughout the year, enabling the RGP to continue with intelligence-led and unpredictable police deployments to disrupt criminality and terrorism.
“Since adopting this policing tactic in 2018, we have enjoyed an excellent close working relationship with our colleagues at the National Project Servator Team based at the City of London, who have supported us this week in delivering the latest round of specialist training. It’s important that we continue creating a network of vigilance and a difficult operating environment for terrorists who may be considering their targets or individuals looking to commit crime.
“Each of us has a part to play in keeping Gibraltar safe, by being alert not alarmed, trusting our instincts and reporting anything that doesn’t feel right to security staff or a police officer, whether in person, via the RGP’s online reporting portal: www.police.gi/report-online or by calling 199 in an emergency.”
For more information visit www.police.gi/information/counter-terrorism/project-servator