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Armed police in crime crackdown at Birmingham Airport

By Alex Ross | Birmingham | Crime | Published:

Armed police are stepping up patrols at Birmingham Airport as part of a new project to stop criminals operating in the West Midlands.

Firearms officers will be deployed around Birmingham Airport as part of Project Servator, which aims to stop criminals in the region

The increased police presence is part of Project Servator, a surveillance operation which involves officers being deployed around the airport under a range of guises, including uniformed firearms units.

Officers, both armed and unarmed, will carry out scheduled checks on the public and vehicles – all designed to disrupt criminal activity.

Birmingham Airport has insisted the project will not add delays onto journeys.

Servator was first introduced in London in 2014 and has since been used at the Commonwealth Games in the same year and at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.

Bertie the sniffer dog

Inspector Chris Cotton, who launched the project yesterday, said it would ‘deter’ criminal activity and described its trial as a ‘massive success’.

He added: “This project will bring new tactics that increase our opportunity to engage with the public and disrupt, detect and deter criminality.

“We have always had a police presence at airport, but this brings in tactics with a science and methodology behind them.

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“We have done a trial of the project and it was a massive success in identifying people who may be involved in criminality.”

Inspector Chris Cotton

Insp Cotton cannot reveal the number of arrests, or on what grounds they took place, during the trial.

He also cannot disclose the full if extent of tactics officers will using from now on.

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But he said people are not spoken to at random, they are selected.

He also said the timing of deployments around the airport are carefully planned.

Speaking to members of the public as they arrive at the airport

He explained: “We are here to reassure the public and make sure people are here for a reason, which is not linked to crime.

“Officers will actively look to talk to people in and around the airport.

“They will look for tell tale signs such as someone who wants to avoid police contact.

“The safety of everyone visiting and working at the airport is our priority and these new tactics will continue to help us further combat crime we see at the airport.

“Our officers are here to keep people safe and I’d encourage members of the public to speak to us if they have any concerns.”

As well as on foot officer patrols, vehicles are to be stopped for searches and police dogs deployed.

Operation Servator, which translates to ‘watcher’ in Latin, comes at a time when the UK’s terror level is ‘severe’, meaning an attack is highly likely.

Bob Graham, operations director at Birmingham Airport, said the project would not disrupt passengers or add delays.

He said: “We are fully collaborating with the police on the project which is targeting criminality and there for public safety.

“It is all about making the public feel safe.”

  • Anyone who sees anything that doesn’t feel right can report it directly to an officer or by emailing airport_police@west-midlands.police.uk. In an emergency always call 999.
Alex Ross

By Alex Ross
Investigations Editor - @alexross_star

Investigations Editor at the Express & Star. Everyone has a story - tell me yours.

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