The PSNI have begun preparing the public for the roll-out of Project Servator, highly visible and unpredictable police deployments designed to deter terrorism and serious crime.
Officers have been out and about in Belfast this week talking to the community and local businesses and encouraging them to be the PSNI's eyes and ears.
This, police say, is a key component of 'Servator' - Latin for 'watcher' - which was first used by City of London Police in 2014.
The new safety and security deployments and policing tactics are now being trialled by the PSNI.
Outlining the rationale behind the new tactics recently, Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “Project Servator aims to disrupt a range of criminal activity, including terrorism, while providing a reassuring presence for members of the public. Officers have been specially trained to spot the tell-tale signs that someone is gathering information to help them plan or prepare to commit a crime.
“Project Servator patrols are highly visible and can happen at any time and in any location. They are characterised by the use of a range of policing assets - dogs, vehicles, plain clothes – in an unpredictable way. If you see Project Servator officers in your area, I can assure you there is nothing to worry about. They are normal police deployments and are not in response to any specific threat.
“We are working closely with our partners, including other police forces, security staff and CCTV operators, local businesses and retailers and members of the public, to continue to keep people safe in Northern Ireland and protect everyone who lives, works or visits here and make it a difficult place for criminals and terrorists to operate. Our initial trial includes deployments across our bus and rail stations in Belfast and we have been liaising closely with Translink in planning these deployments to help keep people safe.”
Translink’s Head of Rail Customer Services, Hilton Parr, said: “The safety of our passengers and staff is our top priority. We work closely with the PSNI and we are pleased to be trialling Project Servator at our bus and train stations, which provides a great opportunity to highlight the importance of members of the public being vigilant at all times.”
ACC Todd concluded; “I would stress that we cannot do this alone. Members of the public have an important role to play in helping us keep people safe by reporting anything that doesn’t feel right. We rely on you to be our eyes and ears so please report any suspicious activity to police.”
Members of the public can report suspicious activity on the PSNI non-emergency number 101."