Covert anti-terror police squads begin patrols at London City Airport

Servator officers at the Tower of London. Picture: Met Police

Servator officers at the Tower of London. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Met Police

Undercover police teams targeting terrorism and criminals today begin patrols at potential “targets” including London City Airport.

Covert units will work alongside officers in uniform in a tactic aimed at identifying “suspicious activity” across the capital.

The Met is extending the scheme to locations including Heathrow after a pilot project at two sites.

Armed officers, dogs, mounted patrols, Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras and checkpoints can be rolled out to violent crime hotspots, not just potential terror “targets”, Scotland Yard says.

“By being vigilant, we can all create a hostile environment for potential terrorists who may be considering their targets and for individuals looking to commit crime,” said Supt Nick Aldworth, head of the Met’s Project Servator teams.

“The public shouldn’t be worried if a deployment happens in their area. In fact, I encourage anyone to talk to the officers to find out more.”

He said officers would enlist the help of businesses, community groups and members of the public to spot tell-tale signs of criminal intent.

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The scheme, launched by City of London Police, saw the Met’s pilot teams make 176 arrests for offences including firearms and weapons offences, drugs, money laundering, robbery and theft.

The arrests resulted from more than 500 “pieces of intelligence” about suspected criminal activity and about 550 searches, officers say.

Police forces in the City, British Transport Police and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) were working together under the project on anti-terror operations.

Supt Helen Isaac, of the National Project Servator Team based at the City of London Police, said: “Project Servator has been adopted by eight UK police forces since it was launched by City of London Police in 2014, with more to follow in 2018.

“Officers have made arrests on suspicion of a wide range of offences and have taken drugs and weapons, including firearms and knives off the streets, seized uninsured vehicles and located wanted criminals. Hundreds of pieces of intelligence about criminal activity have been gathered and shared across policing.”

MoD Servator teams also operate at atomic weapons sites in Berkshire and at Portsmouth Naval Base.