Embassy Liaison Officer Sgt Chris Brown outlines a new counter-terrorism project designed to enhance the safety of diplomatic missions and their staff
Keeping London’s embassies safe is no easy feat but by working with thousands of diplomatic staff based at these locations, the Met Police ensures your time in the Capital is as safe as possible.
This year, for the first time, police officers at Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command have been joined at government and diplomatic venues by our colleagues from Project Servator. Project Servator officers are specially trained to spot signs that a person is in an area for terrorist or other criminal purposes. Their specialist training is based on extensive research into how terrorists think and behave. Project Servator works closely with the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command, to whom they pass intelligence to help identify terrorist activity.
Disrupting hostile reconnaissance
Project Servator’s patrols are highly visible and can happen at any time and in any location. They include both uniformed and plain-clothes officers. Their aim is to disrupt hostile reconnaissance by terrorists to make London a difficult place for them to operate. If you see Project Servator officers near your mission, there’s nothing to be concerned about. It’s normal police activity and isn’t linked to any specific intelligence about a threat to the area.
Officers will talk to the public, local businesses, diplomatic security staff to let them know what they’re doing and remind them to be vigilant, trust their instincts and report any suspicious or unusual behaviour. Working with the local communities, including the diplomatic community, is a vital part of making Project Servator a success, so if you have any questions, please feel free to talk to our officers.
Enhancing diplomatic protection
Project Servator complements the protection services already provided by your embassy liaison officer at Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command. Their duties include providing protection to diplomatic and governmental communities; occasionally acting as the conduit between the diplomatic community and other Met Police commands; and providing security and crime prevention advice to members and staff.
Police officers remain bound by the 1961 Vienna Convention – an international treaty covering diplomats – which requires an embassy has to be protected without any “impairment of its dignity”.
Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection achieve this in a number of ways: we provide both armed an unarmed protection; we are traditionally identified by our red police cars but we also patrol on foot, and we patrol both in uniform and plain clothes.
We work in partnership with a range of other teams in the Met Police including Royalty and Specialist Protection; Specialist Firearms Command and local police who have a great relationship with local communities.
It’s worth remembering that the threat to the UK from international terrorism remains at severe, meaning an attack is highly likely. We all have a part to play in keeping ourselves, our colleagues and the Capital safe, so if you see anything suspicious, please report it to the police by calling 0800 789 321 or 999, if it’s an emergency. You can also report it online at www.gov.uk/act.
If you would like to find out more about Project Servator, please see www.met.police.uk/projectservator or search for #projectservator on Twitter. Alternatively, ask a Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection officer for more information.