POLICE have sent a message to criminals that they 'are here, watching and that they will stop them' as a new project was launched in Greater Manchester.

New tactics are being deployed by police to target offenders of all levels, from petty criminals to terrorists.

Greater Manchester Police has adopted a nationwide project aimed at deterring people from committing crimes.

Project Servator has been used in parts of the country for the past few years and sees organisations working together to deter, detect and disrupt criminal activity of any kind.

GMP is now working with partners as part of Project Servator to target offenders of all levels.

It will use high visibility tactics, including unpredictable patrols and community engagement will also be at the top of the agenda.

Superintendent Mark Dexter, from GMP’s Specialist Operations team, said: “Project Servator is very much business as usual for the force but we do need the public’s and local businesses support.

"Firstly, we need people not to worry when they see extra officers out and about or more checks happening, and secondly we need people to be our eyes and ears.

“This is all about working together to send a clear message to potential criminals – we are here, we’re watching and we will stop you. If you’ve any concerns please call us on 101 or 999 in an emergency. Alternatively you can report anything suspicious to the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.”

Tactics are designed to deter and identify potential criminals and will include high visibility uniformed officers, search dogs, metal detection arches and barriers, police vehicles and legal searches, all backed up by specially trained plain clothed officers, CCTV and less visible security measures.

Officers will also be handing out information about the operation wherever they go to raise awareness and encourage people to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious.

Alongside this, GMP is encouraging people to follow Action Counters Terrorism guidance as part of its mission to keep people safe.

ACT urges communities to help police by acting on their instincts to help prevent terror attacks.

People are encouraged to report suspicious activity to help police bring dangerous offenders to justice and prevent terror attacks in the UK and overseas.

As well as this people are asked to report online terrorist and violent extremist material found on the internet and to remain alert at home, work and when out and about.

GMP follows the City of London Police, British Transport Police and Police Scotland in adopting the operation.

The operations can happen anywhere across Greater Manchester at any time and will be followed up by messages telling people where deployments have taken place that day.

GMP is also working closely with British Transport Police to have a presence in railway stations across the city region.

Servator also aims to increase interaction between police officers and the public, helping to provide further reassurance to the public.

It was first launched by the City of London Police in 2014 as it aimed to protect the area.

The operation involves 'hostile reconnaissance', where police observe people, places, vehicles and locations with the intention of collecting information.

Groups targeted can include extreme protest groups, organised crime groups or terrorists and police are aiming to disrupt them at an early stage in a bid to make them abandon their plans.

The UK terror threat level is currently at severe, meaning that an attack is highly likely.


Since 2014, the threat of terrorism has been severe, which means that an attack is highly likely. When attacks have occurred in the past, people have said that they suspected something was wrong but were worried about wasting police time by coming forward. That couldn’t be more untrue – with some of our highest priority investigations benefiting from information received from the public. We have always said that ‘communities defeat terrorism’. That is why the ACT campaign urges the public to do just that.

It is very encouraging that in a third of cases involving our most serious terrorist suspects we have benefited from information from the public. The number of calls and online reports we receive is also increasing. This is testament to people’s trust in the police - but now we are appealing for even more.

Counter terrorism policing is working hard to keep the public safe and we have, with our partners in the security services, helped stop 13 attacks since the appalling murder of Lee Rigby in May 2013. However, advances in technology make it more complex and challenging for us to spot would-be terrorists because it’s easier for them to be in contact with others and be radicalised in a relatively short space of time.

The threat is becoming more varied and the move towards low-tech attacks on crowded places, like those we have seen in major European cities and beyond, makes it even more important everyone remains vigilant and acts, by calling us confidentially, if they are concerned about suspicious activity.