Undercover police operation in Drake Circus

If you’ve been in or around Drake Circus Shopping Centre in Plymouth over the last couple of days, you may have spotted in increase in the number of police officers on patrol.

However, you won’t have seen all of the officers working, as some of them are undercover, dressed in plain clothes, as part of ‘Project Servator’.

Project Servator is a multi-force operation that aims to deter, detect and disrupt a range of criminal activity, including terrorism, while providing a reassuring presence for the public.

According to the Metropolitan Police, which is just one of the many police forces across the country taking part in the operation, Project Servator’s patrols are “highly visible and can happen at any time and in any location.”

PC Mark Freshwater, from Plymouth’s Prevent and Detect team, posted on Twitter this morning to say that yesterday had seen them head to Drake Circus, in Plymouth city centre.

The local police force, Devon and Cornwall Police, explains that officers are there to keep you safe.

in an FAQ on the project, the force’s website says: “You may also see or meet officers who will be happy to explain what we are doing and answer any questions which you may have.

“Feel free to talk to them if you want to find out more.”

What can I expect to see?

The Devon and Cornwall Police website says you can expect to see plain clothes officers, who are specially trained to spot the tell-tale signs that an individual may have criminal intent. You may also see other police units, such as police dogs, armed officers, CCTV operators, Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and vehicle checkpoints.

The project deployments have been occurring all across the country in an effort to gather intelligence that has already assisted Counter Terrorism Units across the UK in investigating and preventing acts of terror.

It has resulted in many arrests for a multitude of offences and is responsible for removing firearms, knives and drugs from the streets, according to Devon and Cornwall Police.

One of the deployments saw officers in Birmingham Airport arrest a male for a previous offence he was showing as wanted for.

Further information on the Devon and Cornwall Police website on Project Servator reads: “The tactics are designed to identify and disrupt hostile reconnaissance – the information gathering a criminal does when planning to commit a criminal act, including terrorist attacks.”

“The approach relies on police working together with the community – businesses, partners and members of the public – to build a network of vigilance and encourage suspicious activity to be reported,” the website adds.

You can play a ‘vital role’

Devon and Cornwall Police says you can play a vital role by being vigilant when you are out and about and reporting anything that doesn’t feel right.

The force said: “You’ll never get in trouble for reporting a genuine concern, and we’ll always take your report seriously – whether it’s an unattended item or someone acting suspiciously. Don’t leave it to someone else to report it.”

  • Tell a police officer or member of security or retail staff
  • Call 101 (police non-emergency number)
  • Text 67101 sms/text number for the deaf / hard hearing / speech impaired | 18001 101 Minicom / Textphone
  • Email 101@dc.police.uk
  • In an emergency, always call 999

Plymouth Live