New police tactics set to disrupt criminality in Suffolk

Officers and PCC Tim Passmore at the Project Servator launch in Bury St Edmunds

A new policing tactic has been adopted by Suffolk Constabulary - Credit: Archant

A policing tactic which sees officers, businesses, community partners and the public working together to disrupt criminality has been adopted by Suffolk Constabulary. 

Project Servator was launched by the City of London Police in 2014 and aims to disrupt hostile reconnaissance – the information-gathering terrorists and other criminals need to do to help them plan to commit crimes.

The approach sees the deployment of both highly visible and plain clothed police officers, supported by other resources such as dogs and firearms officers.

The deployments can happen anywhere and at any time and include police officers specially-trained to spot the tell-tale signs that individuals may be planning or preparing to commit a crime.

The officers involved have to demonstrate a nationally-recognised level of competency before they can become operational.

Inspector Matt Breeze from Suffolk Constabulary

Inspector Matt Breeze from Suffolk police - Credit: Archant

Speaking at the Suffolk police launch on Thursday, Inspector Matt Breeze said: "What the public will see is unpredictable patrols, they'll pop up anywhere, all across Suffolk, not just in the big towns or events, and the officers will actively engage with the community. 

"That has a two-fold effect - one, it reassures members of the public that it's a nice safe environment, which Suffolk is, but also it has that effect on those people who want to cause harm to the community.

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"A big part of Project Servator focuses on the engagement between officers and members of the public who will work together to act as an extra set of eyes and ears and report any suspicious activity.”

The deployments, to be led by the county's three Kestrel teams, are designed to make the environment as uncomfortable as possible for criminals to plan or carry out their activities and increase their fear of detection.

Suffolk's police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore 

Suffolk's police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore - Credit: Archant

Tim Passmore, Suffolk's police and crime commissioner, said he hoped the approach would act as "a powerful deterrent" for criminals. 

"I'm really pleased about it, everyone wants more visibility, of course we have to operate within the resources we've got, but I'm a big fan of this," he said. 

"It originally came from the City of London Police and it's been very effective. Now what we're doing here is building on the success of our Kestrel teams that were launched last year. 

"This provides a real focus for not just public engagement and public confidence but also arresting criminals and thugs and yobs who want to cause harm in Suffolk. 

"We don't want them here and I hope it will act as a really powerful deterrent.

"The element of surprise with the nature of these operations should send a really strong deterrent message that you're far more likely to get caught and punished."