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Project ServatorProject Servator - Together, we've got it covered

Frequently asked questions

Why has the City of London Police adopted these new tactics?

The City of London Police is dedicated to protecting our communities. We continually adapt and change our tactics in order to deter criminals and those who threaten our safety and security. Our focus will always be on keeping people safe.

Does this mean that the police are anticipating a terrorist attack?

No. We know that Project Servator enhances how we protect our communities from a wide range of crime, including terrorism.

How else can I help or be involved?

We cannot stress enough how much businesses can help by telling your staff and customers about Project Servator. If we work together as a community, together we’ve got security covered. Your support by displaying posters and by reporting any suspicious activity to us immediately is vital in helping us to keep the City safe for everyone to enjoy.

Who do I need to speak to if I suspect someone of carrying out hostile reconnaissance?

If you suspect it, don’t hesitate to report it. If you believe there is an immediate threat, please call 999. Otherwise, speak to any police officer or call 101.

What should I tell my staff?

You should tell them that Project Servator:

  • Is being run to help protect our communities and everyone who works, visits and lives there. This is not in response to an increase in the threat level or a potential attack
  • Comprises of innovative, proven and effective methods to help deter and detect criminals
  • Consists of highly visible operations that will happen regularly across the City, at any time
  • Officers may visit during the operations to inform and reassure both customers and staff about what’s happening. And that they:
    • have an important role to play in helping inform and reassure customers
    • Should report anything that doesn't feel right immediately. If you believe there is an immediate threat, please call 999. Otherwise, speak to any police officer or call 101.

What should I tell my customers?

You should tell them that Project Servator:

  • Is being run to help protect our communities and everyone who works, visits and lives there. This is not in response to an increase in the threat level or a potential attack.
  • Involves co-ordinated police deployments. Including a mix of highly visible and plain clothed officers specially-trained to spot the signs of criminal intent. These deployments can happen anywhere and at any time so people should not be alarmed if they see a sudden increase in police presence.
  • If they want further information they should speak directly to an officer. Information can also be found on the City of London Police website.

Will this affect my business? Will my customers be put off by the police presence?

We have carefully designed and tested the Project Servator tactics to reassure the public as well as deter and detect criminals. However, your help is key and you have a very important role to play, by helping us reassure customers and visitors directly.

Telling your staff and customers about what to expect will provide reassurance that these measures are for their safety and not as a result of an increase in threat. If you have any concerns regarding the project or would like to discuss it further, contact the community policing team on 020 7601 2452 or email​

You said these methods are effective in detecting criminals. What evidence do you have for this?

Various studies have been carried out in airports, train and coach stations in London. In addition, these tactics have also been deployed in other areas of the UK. Research shows that over half of stops carried out by Project Servator officers lead to an outcome such as an arrest or caution. Traditionally, only one in five random stops lead to an outcome such as an arrest or caution.

How effective is Project Servator?

Since Project Servator became “business as usual” here in the City in 2014, research showed that 69% of the public stated they were prepared to report suspicious activity [1]. In the months following the official launch of Project Servator there was a 76% increase in 101 calls related to public reports of suspicious activity.

Since Project Servator was launched in the City of London in February 2014, there have been:
  • 938 searches leading to 594 positive outcomes (an arrest or drugs seizure), which equates to a 64% success rate for stop and searches
  • 233 vehicle seizures
  • 174 drug warnings issued
  • 150 arrests for drug dealing and amphetamine, LSD, cannabis, cocaine, MDMA and heroin seized
  • Other arrests made for robbery and possession of offensive weapons

What is hostile reconnaissance?

It is the information gathering stage criminals and terrorists go through to select their target and plan their operation.

Who should I talk to if  I suspect someone of carrying out hostile reconnaissance?

You should report it immediately. For an immediate threat, call 999. You can also report your concerns online at the Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) website or call 101.

How/why do these tactics help deter criminals?

These tactics are proven to be effective in deterring and detecting criminals conducting hostile reconnaissance. Our understanding of the criminal mindset​ has informed how deterrence measures should be developed to be more visible and unpredictable to the criminal undertaking hostile reconnaissance. The measures being deployed are unpredictable in terms of timing, place and form, and are multi-layered, involving specialist teams of officers, dogs, CCTV and ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) on the one hand and communications with City residents, workers and visitors on the other. The communications to support the tactics are designed to reassure and inform the public about the purpose of these deployments and to encourage reporting of anything suspicious during and between deployments.   

What type of criminals are you looking for?

We are looking to deter, detect and ultimately disrupt a broad spectrum of criminality from terrorism, to organised and petty crime.

[1] When asked “How likely would you be to report a crime you have witnessed”, 69% stated that they were ‘very likely’ to report suspicious behaviours; 734 interviews were undertaken with city residents, workers and visitors in February/March 2014. ​​