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Special police action on Wick High Street


By David G Scott

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OFFICERS from a special deployment team saw action today (September 20) on Wick High Street when a vehicle was stopped and an arrest made.

The officers are currently operating in the town as part of Project Servator – a policing tactic which aims to disrupt a range of criminal activity, including terrorism, while providing a "reassuring presence" for the public.

A police spokesperson said: "Our Project Servator deployments are highly visible and unpredictable and can happen at any time, anywhere.

"They are comprised of specially trained uniformed and plain-clothes officers."

A specialist police squad is currently operating in Wick. Picture: DGS
A specialist police squad is currently operating in Wick. Picture: DGS

At around 11am, officers from the specialist team – who had been liaising with shopkeepers and businesses in the town centre as part of their remit – sprang into action and made an arrest.

William Mackay was selling fish from his van in Market Place when he witnessed the incident. "There were about six police – some from Glasgow and others from Dounreay who were in training they said. There was also a plain-clothes officer."

Mr Mackay said he saw a "black Vauxhall Corsa" being stopped at the traffic lights on the High Street with four people within the vehicle. "They [police] must have thought there was something suspicious about it. They searched the car and one guy was arrested."

High Street shopkeeper Sam Salim was given information from the Project Servator deployment squad. Picture: DGS
High Street shopkeeper Sam Salim was given information from the Project Servator deployment squad. Picture: DGS

A police spokesman later confirmed that a 28-year-old man was arrested and "will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal in connection with drug offences".

Project Servator involves specialist teams liaising with people and local businesses to let them know what they are doing and remind them to be "vigilant, trust their instincts and report any suspicious or unusual behaviour". The operation is designed to be highly visible and involves officers giving out leaflets to explain the meaning of Project Servator.

Sam Salim, from Sams Furniture Ltd in the town centre, said he had been visited by Project Servator officers. "They said they were wanting to make shopkeepers and the public more vigilant with regard to things out of the ordinary. Counter terrorism was a priority to them, they told me.

"I said to them that I thought that was more of a problem in cities but they said terrorists 'could come in the back door' through a place like Wick Airport."

The team handed Mr Salim, and other retailers in the town centre, a leaflet that explained aspects of the operation. Much of the leaflet is taken up with information about being vigilant over suspected terrorist activity.

One of the leaflets that details how to recognise terrorist and other criminal activity.
One of the leaflets that details how to recognise terrorist and other criminal activity.

It says: "Terrorists need to store equipment while preparing for an attack. Have you noticed anyone buying or storing a large amount of chemicals, fertilisers or cylinders for no obvious reason?

"Do you know someone who travels but is vague about where they are going?"

The police say that if a Project Servator deployment "is happening where you are, there’s nothing to worry about" as "they are normal police deployments".

"We work with partners, including businesses and security staff, and our aim is to make it a difficult environment for criminals and terrorists to operate."




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