AN innovative police designed to deter, detect and disrupt criminal and terrorist activity in crowded places has been launched in North Yorkshire.

The tactic sees the deployment of both highly visible and covert police officers and staff alongside other resources such as dogs, firearms, Automatic Number Plate Recognition and CCTV cameras in busy town and centres and at large events.

Following the launch in York the initiative, Project Servator, will be rolled out at other key locations and events across the county such as the upcoming Tour de Yorkshire to enhance existing tactics.

The deployments are designed to be highly unpredictable and are intelligence-led.

Officers will use tactics developed and tested over a five-year period by the Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure in partnership with City of London Police.

Project Servator has been successfully used and is already the norm for a number of forces such as City of London Police, British Transport Police, Essex Police, Ministry of Defence Police and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.

It was also used extensively by Police Scotland during the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Strategic lead for the project, Superintendent Mark Grange, said people should not be alarmed to see a heavy police presence at various locations over the coming months.

“Keep in mind that these are normal police operations that will deter, detect and disrupt a broad range of criminal activity,” he said.

“The deployments are designed to be unpredictable and can turn up at any time. One day our tactics may be highly visible, the next we will be working in a more covert way.”

The project’s tactical lead, Chief Inspector Fiona Willey, said it was not a response to a specific threat but had been in the planning stages since last September.