Hidden skills of specially trained police keeping Liverpool safe during Eurovision

A specially-trained team are on the look out to keep those heading to Eurovision safe as a huge influx of visitors to Liverpool has meant the police have had their work cut out.

About 5,500 officers are being deployed across the 11-day event to deal with crowds in their tens of thousands.

Amongst them is the specially-trained team on the lookout for everything from minor criminal activity to terrorism.

They are the unsung heroes at Merseyside Police.

Police have been offering reassurance to visitors. Credit: ITV Granada

I was given rare access to film the Project Servator team in action. But much of their work is shrouded in secrecy.

“We can't actually tell you the things that we’re looking for,” one officer told a member of the public. “We had to sign the Official Secrets Act."

“You’re like secret agents,” replied the woman.

Plain clothes officers are deployed to watch for anything suspicious but police in uniforms also try to find and deter criminals whilst reassuring the public.

They are happy to explain the basics of why they are there and to encourage people to be alert for anything suspicious.

Sergeant Danny Cheevers, force co-ordinator for the project, said, “We’ve got people who are visiting the city who many not know about Project Servator.

"We’re letting them know that we are doing stuff to keep people safe.

“If you do see something that you’re not happy with, trust that gut instinct."

Officers in plain clothes have also been on the lookout for suspicious behaviour. Credit: ITV Granada

Since 2018, Project Servator has enhanced existing crime prevention and public safety tactics.

It had already been used by a number of forces across the UK including City of London Police, British Transport Police, Ministry of Defence Police and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.

The tactics are designed to be highly unpredictable and are led by intelligence.

"It's absolutely nothing to be concerned about today,” one officer explained. "It is business as usual.

"We are unpredictable. We pop up here, there and everywhere."

Police stationed outside the M&S Bank Arena which is hosting Eurovision. Credit: ITV Granada

Eurovision is one of the biggest security operations that officers here have ever had to deal with.

Sgt Cheevers said, “They are looking for the tell-tale signs that people are there with criminal intent.

"It could be someone who is looking to commit a crime, all the way up to someone who is looking to plan an act of terrorism.

"There is no threat that we've been made aware of but we're here to make sure that we keep everyone safe."

The Operation Servator police van passes the Yellow Submarine outside Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Credit: ITV Granada

Importantly, it is not just police who need to be on the look-out.

Liverpool John Lennon Airport has been busy with fans and delegates arriving on international flights.

Debbie Lacy-May, head of security and terminal operations, said, "It is a big event and there is a lot of people around.

"It's just making sure that, yes, come and enjoy that but… report anything suspicious. Let us know what's going on.

“You are our eyes and ears."

  • People can report anything suspicious immediately to a police or security officer or Eurovision volunteer. People can also call 101 or 999 in an emergency or the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.