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Suffolk Police launch Project Servator to spot tell-tale signs of crime

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A police project designed for London to combat terrorism has been launched in Suffolk today – encouraging communities to act as the eyes and ears of officers.

Project Servator, kick-started at Ipswich's Cornhill and Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds today, is aiming to crackdown on a range of criminality including drugs, weapons possession and even terrorism.

Suffolk Police's three Kestrel teams - east, south and west - will take charge of the new initiative with specially trained visible and plain clothed officers, supported by other resources such as dogs and firearms officers, tasked to spot tell-tale signs of individuals preparing to commit a crime.

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore, right, with members of the Project Servator team on Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Kev Hurst.
Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore, right, with members of the Project Servator team on Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Kev Hurst.

Already it has led to three possession of drugs arrests and found a missing person.

Tim Passmore, Suffolk's police and crime commissioner, said: "I am a big enthusiast for this project because I have seen it work elsewhere in the country and builds on the excellent work the Kestrel team has already done.

"It provides real focus on publicity and public engagement and I feel it will make a really positive difference to people feeling safe and secure in all our towns.

"This will send out a clear message to criminals that if they want to misbehave in Suffolk you had better not because you are far more likely to be detected and I hope it will be a powerful deterrent to the criminal fraternity."

The tactics have been developed and tested by security experts at the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) in partnership with the City of London Police since 2014.

Matt Breeze, who is the police inspector for the Kestrel teams, said after seeing the great results other forces have had with the project he was pleased to finally introduce it in Suffolk.

He said: "We were in Ipswich today and we have already had some success in terms of three arrests for possession of drugs, a considerable amount of intelligence and finding a missing person.

"For me, I want the public to feel assured and feel safe, as Suffolk is, but also get to those people that are causing our communities harm through offences.

On his message to the public, who the force want to also help with the project, inspector Breeze said: "We rely on you, you are our eyes and ears, if you feel uncomfortable or something is just not right in your area then let us know.

"If you see our officers or one of our deployments around, come and see us - out biggest partnership in the police is the public, because we can't be everywhere, so we do rely on the good people of Suffolk to call in their concerns on whatever matter they feel we can help with."

"Project Servator was originally designed for the City of London and was focussed around counter-terrorism, and though that risk is lower in a county such as Suffolk, we have found across the country that Servator has been used to deal with a wide range of criminality.

"Drugs, possession of weapons and even anti-social behaviour, the presence of this project's officers will have a deterring effect and criminals will think twice about doing those offences in this county."