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Police rolling out new tactic after Bristol Airport trial

Avon and Somerset Police are today starting a new tactic to disrupt a range of criminal activity.

Project Servator  - as it's known - includes police dogs, police horses, armed officers, the force helicopter and drones.

The force aims to also work closely with related agencies, the public and business to increase intelligence.

Specially trained officers will tackle things like criminal activity, theft and terrorism.

Bristol Airport was one of the first locations in the region to deploy Project Servator officers. 

Inspector Jon Hext said: "Project Servator deployments will look different to standard patrols but they are nothing to worry about. 

"They are normal police operations designed to disrupt hostile reconnaissance – the information gathering criminals do to help them plan their activity.

"As a tactic, Project Servator has been tested by teams of specialists who behave in the same way that individuals carrying out hostile reconnaissance do to see if they are identified by police. And time and time again officers have spotted the would-be criminal.

"This is an approach to policing which has been proven to disrupt criminal activity and I hope the fact we are rolling it out across Avon and Somerset provides great reassurance to our communities.

"Project Servator isn’t just about the police - it's about the network of vigilance we can create with the help of our partners, businesses and members of the public.

"We all have a vital role to play in disrupting crime and I'd like everyone to have the confidence to tell us of anything that seems out place, unusual or doesn’t seem to fit in with day-to-day life. 

"Reporting won’t ruin lives, but it could save them.

"Together, we can send a clear message to potential criminals that we are watching, we will spot you and we will stop you."

Chris Morgan, Head of Security, Bristol Airport said: "We are delighted this initiative will be extended to other areas within the region and will continue to support and collaborate with the police teams in detecting and deterring criminal activity in and around the Airport."

Councillor Dine Romeo, Bath and North East Somerset Council leader, said: "Every year we welcome thousands of visitors and we want everyone who lives, works or visits Bath to feel safe. 

"This is about working with the police and partners including Bath BID, to reassure people so we can go about our day-to-day lives and enjoy our city."

Project Servator, which is funded by Counter Terrorism Policing, was developed by the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure and the City of London Police.

It has been fully adopted by 13 other UK police forces.

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