Officers in Southend have begun carrying out regular Project Servator deployments in the city, providing a highly visible deterrent to anyone intent on committing crime. Project Servator is a national initiative to detect, deter and disrupt criminal activity.
Groups of uniformed and plain clothes officers have been given specialist training to spot signs that people are planning to commit crime. They have been stationed on the seafront and in areas off the High Street to provide a significant presence in areas popular with residents and day-trippers.
They were also recently followed by BBC News as they carried out Servator duties in Old Leigh and outside Adventure Island.
Officers will continue to arrive unannounced at locations in the district throughout the summer and will be working with partner organisations, businesses and with the local community to remind everyone to be vigilant, trust their instincts and report any suspicious or unusual behaviour.
The same deployments are used at Stansted Airport, Lakeside and in Colchester, and can take place at any time of the day or night.
Inspector Paul Hogben leads the Southend Community Policing Team.
He said: “The aim of Project Servator is to reduce crime, increase the visible policing presence and reassure the community.
“Southend is a high footfall area. We get a lot of visitors but that means criminals travel here too.
“We will be deploying officers – with support from specialist units including firearms and dog teams – in different areas at different times to deter criminal activity and help keep our communities safe.
“Our officers are trained to look for small indications that make people stand out, but a big part of the work is getting our partners and the community involved.
“We want members of the public to feel confident to come to us if they spot something that doesn’t look right. You don’t need to be trained to notice something out of the ordinary.”