New operation will see armed police deployed in Chapelfield Shopping Centre
PUBLISHED: 06:00 17 December 2019 | UPDATED: 08:50 17 December 2019
Armed police could be deployed in a Norwich shopping centre, as part of a new operation being introduced by police from today.
Project Servator will launch at Intu Chapelfield this afternoon, as Norfolk Police continues its crackdown on crime in the area.
Both plain clothed and "highly visible" officers will be deployed, using local businesses and members of the public as "an extra set of eyes" to look out for suspicious activity.
Armed police will also be used, alongside officers specially-trained to spot the tell-tale signs of people who may be planning to commit a crime.
To support the crackdown, police say that officers will be given increased access to tools such as dogs, Automatic Number Plate Recognition and vehicle checkpoints.
Norfolk Police have been trialling the tactic since September 24 and hailed it a success, having carried out more than 50 deployments since it began, resulting in arrests for offences including fraud, shoplifting and drug dealing.
Police added that as a result of the scheme, the success rate of stop searches had risen to nearly three times higher than the national average.
Chief Inspector Craig Miller said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for us to talk to local businesses and staff about the importance of being vigilant at all times, and to work with them to keep everyone safe and add another layer of security to our existing policing methods."
The approach is already in use in various parts of the UK, including across the whole of London after it was pioneered by the City of London Police in 2014.
As the project progresses, officers will be working alongside key stakeholders, including Norwich BID, Intu Chapelfield and Norwich City Council, to begin using the tactics across Norwich and Norfolk.
Paul McCarthy, general manager at Intu Chapelfield, said: "The security of everyone who works and visits Norwich is important to us, which is why we're working closely with Norfolk Police to make Project Servator a success. Norwich is an incredibly safe place and this will further strengthen the visible and less visible measures already in place to keep everyone safe and secure."