On Tuesday 13th November Project Servator moved into Birmingham city centre just in time for Christmas.
(click on the link above to see how it operated at Birmingham Airport)
The rollout comes after the success of the project at Birmingham Airport following its launch earlier this year.
The expansion into the city centre will see officers adopting new specialist tactics aimed at tackling a range of criminal activity, including terrorism. The first roll-out will be in and around the Bullring.
The tactics – named Project Servator – have also been adopted in specific locations across the country, including key transport hubs and more widely across the UK, including in London, Essex and North Yorkshire. They are designed to deter, detect and disrupt a range of crime, whilst reassuring members of the public.
The highly visible deployments can take place at any time and at key locations in the city centre and will be used at events over the Christmas period – eventually Project Servator will be rolled out across the rest of the city.
Uniformed and plain clothed police officers are trained to identify the tell-tale signs that someone is intent on committing crime and are supported by specialist police resources such as search dogs and armed officers. CCTV, vehicle checkpoints and covert officers will also be used to keep people safe and secure.
Birmingham Police Superintendent Ian Green said: “The safety of everyone visiting and working in the city centre is our priority and these tactics will continue to help us to further combat crime.
“One of the key elements of Project Servator is unpredictability, so don’t be surprised if you see a visible police presence pop up at any time.
“Our officers are here to keep people safe and I need people to speak to us if they have any concerns. You can play an important role by being vigilant and reporting anything that doesn’t feel right, either to an officer or by calling 101. In an emergency of course people need to dial 999.
“Officers will also be talking to the public, including businesses, wherever they go to raise awareness of Project Servator and encourage people to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious.”
Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This is about safety and reassurance. Every year we welcome millions of visitors to Birmingham and we want everyone who lives, works or visits the city to feel safe.
“Working with partners, including West Midlands Police and the BIDs, our top priority is to ensure that people are reassured and continue to enjoy all that the city centre has to offer all year round.”
West Midlands Police is also encouraging everyone to follow national ACT (Action Counters Terrorism) guidance. More information on what to look out for and how to contact police can be found at www.gov.uk/ACT.
New 20mph area rollout on city’s residential streets aims to save lives
Motorists in Birmingham are being warned to abide by new 20mph areas introduced in south Birmingham this week − the latest phase of a lower speed limit roll-out across the city designed to cut casualties in residential areas.
The Birmingham City Council scheme sees 325 roads predominantly in Bournbrook and Selly Park − plus parts of Edgbaston, Harborne, Bournville, Cotteridge and Stirchley − covered by the new speed restriction from 12 November.
It’s the fourth and final stage of a pilot that has seen limits cut by a third in residential streets across the city centre, Bordesley, Small Heath, Sparkbrook, Moseley, Kings Heath and Balsall Heath.
And it means that more than 1,500 streets in built-up areas of Birmingham are now covered by a 20 miles per hour speed limit.
A full evaluation will be carried out after three years but early analysis of roads in the first pilot stage has shown a more rapid decrease in the number of people killed or seriously hurt in collisions than in roads with existing 30 limits.
Officers from West Midlands Police’s Road Harm Reduction Unit joined council transport officers and the fire service on Tuesday (13 Nov) in Cartland Road, Raddlebarn Road, Edgbaston Park Road and St James Road − streets flagged by residents as a speeding concern − to raise awareness of the 20mph expansion.
PC Mark Hodson from the unit said: “The 20mph scheme is all about reducing the number of pedestrians, children and cyclists being injured in collisions on residential streets.
“New signage has been put up along these roads to make drivers aware of the change so there can be no excuses for speeding.
“Studies from across the UK and Europe have shown that 20mph zones significantly decrease the risk of being killed or seriously hurt in a collision at 20mph compared to 30mph. Our work is always about reducing the number of collisions and saving lives.
“Our awareness and enforcement day was very well received by local residents with many coming approaching us to say thanks for enforcing the 20mph limits.”
More than 50 drivers were pulled over and spoken to during Tuesday’s awareness day with 48 offered a roadside educational input on why the lower limits were being introduced.
They were also shown a short video, made by Birmingham school children, in which pupils ask drivers to think about the potentially fatal consequences speeding.
However, eight drivers were prosecuted for excessive speed, including two caught driving at 43mph. One of those drivers was caught overtaking a motorist who was abiding by the limit − and found to have three children inside none of whom were wearing seatbelts.
And a black cab driver was prosecuted for speeding and for his taxi being in a dangerous condition after officers found its speedometer not working.
Cllr Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, said: “The introduction of 20mph is about making our roads safer for all who use them, young and old, and regardless of whether they are pedestrians, cyclists or motorists.
“As far as I am concerned, safety is paramount and we already know that the consequences of being hit by a car driving at 30mph are significantly worse than they would be if the car was driving at 20mph.
“These are residential roads where families live, children play and people are walking to school and work, so I hope that all motorists using these roads will show proper consideration and keep within the limit because if they choose to speed then the consequences could be far, far worse than a fine and penalty points.”
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is a strong advocate for 20mph zones in residential areas.
They point to a recent study that suggests pedestrians struck by a car travelling at 20mph has just a 1.5 per cent chance of suffering fatal injuries − but that jumps to 8.5 per cent in 30mph collisions.
For more information on the 20mph rollout visit www.birmingham.gov.uk/20mph.
B26 working with and supporting West Midlands Police.