A new way of trying to disrupt criminal activity - including terrorism - is being tested out today at the intu Potteries Shopping Centre in Hanley.
Project Servator sees the deployment of both uniformed and plain clothed police officers, supported by dogs, firearms officers, Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and CCTV teams.
Uniformed officers on patrol at intu Potteries
The approach, which sees police, businesses, community partners and the public working together, is already in use in various parts of the UK, after it was pioneered in London in 2014.
The deployments are unpredictable. They can happen anywhere and at any time and include police officers specially trained to spot tell-tale signs that someone may be planning or preparing to commit a crime.
Today (13 September), dozens of officers are working in partnership with the intu’s security team to carry out deployments in and around the centre.
They are also speaking to shoppers and businesses, encouraging them to report any concerns.
We carry out vehicle check points as part of our #ProjectServator deployments. All to disrupt a range of criminality, including terrorism, to make you feel safe. @Tactical_Police pic.twitter.com/oqms7uDj0A— Staffordshire Police (@StaffsPolice) September 13, 2019
Chief Inspector Mat Derrick said: “Officers undergo an intensive training course, where they seek to identify guilty behaviours of those who have criminal intent.
"They give off really large signals around what they are doing and how they are operating.
"What we try to do is detect those behaviours, ultimately it tends to lead to people turning on their heels and walking away from cops.
"This is also a fantastic opportunity for us to talk to visitors to the centre, shoppers and staff about the importance of being vigilant at all times, and to work with them to keep everyone safe and add another layer of security to our existing policing methods."
Chief Inspector Mat Derrick
Rachael Jackson, General Manager at intu Potteries said: “We have very close working relationships with the security services and police at a national and local level so we had no hesitation in working with Staffordshire Police on Project Servator.
“We take the safety and security of our customers and staff seriously and this project is just another way in which we continually adapt and flex our approach.
"It’s great to have Staffordshire Police in the centre working alongside our own experienced staff to launch such a great initiative.”