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Project Servator

North Yorkshire Police has been implementing new policing tactics since April 2017 to deter and detect criminal and terrorist activity, as well as to reassure the general public.


Project Servator is a new way of working. It uses unique and cutting edge training for officers, which will:

• Cut crime
• Increase community rapport, engagement and support
• Deter would be perpetrators of hostile reconnaissance
• Raise public confidence and reassurance

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. Criminals, whether extreme protest groups, organised crime or terrorists, have to conduct hostile reconnaissance in order to plan a successful attack. If we can disrupt and deter them at an early stage, it is likely they will abandon their plans.

Following three years of intensive work and study by a Government organisation, 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 should 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.

Keeping North Yorkshire safe remains our main priority 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 the county and they are part of our drive to deploy our resources 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 extreme protesters through to terrorists) easier to detect by specially trained officers. The use of specially trained officers has been proven to be very effective in detecting those with criminal intent.

Project Servator is “business as usual” for the force and operates across the county.

These measures comprise the staging of spot operations designed to deter and raise concerns amongst criminals along with the deployment of specially trained officers and CCTV operators to increase the likelihood of correctly detecting them.

Along with supporting information and materials, people will see more high profile deployments in and around communities and at key locations. These deployments will vary from one day to the next.

Your support and assistance with Project Servator is key for its success. You can play a vital role by being vigilant when you are in the area 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.

  • If you see an increased police presence, there is nothing to worry about. These are normal police operations designed to deter, detect and disrupt a range of criminal activity.
  •  We can turn up at any time. Don’t be surprised or alarmed if you see us and weren’t expecting it.
  •  Our officers will visit businesses and retailers to talk to staff and customers to explain what we are doing.
  •  You can help to deter, detect and disrupt criminal activity by reporting anything that doesn’t feel right, for example an unattended item or someone acting suspiciously
  • Call: 101! Always call 999 in an emergency.

Working together
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. If you see one of our leaflets in a business or retailer, this means we are working with them to keep the public safe.

If you are a retailer or business owner we would very much appreciate your support by:

• Displaying a poster in the window of your business. These posters will help to reassure the public and deter hostile reconnaissance and criminals.
• Explain to your customers and employees about the nature of these deployments, specifically that:

1) They are part of the force’s commitment to help protect our communities and those working and visiting the county.

2) The deployments will involve highly visible and covert operations that will occur regularly. People shouldn’t be surprised or alarmed if they see a sudden increase of police officers. Small deployments may include just officers while larger operations may include a mix of cars, motorcyclists, dogs and other measures.

3) Police officers may visit businesses and community centres during deployments to inform and reassure staff and customers about the operation

4) Members of the public and staff should report any suspicious activity immediately either to an officer or by calling 101. Please use 999 if an immediate response is required.

It is important to us that we get the right balance between deterring and detecting criminals while not upsetting communities and visitors. We are always looking for feedback, both good and bad. If you have any concerns or wish to discuss Project Servator, then please contact us on 101 or email general.enquiries@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

Keep up to date with Project Servator via social media using the #ProjectServator hashtag.