Police chiefs have urged the public to remain vigilant against terrorism and other crime as thousands of visitors prepare to descend on Liverpool for the Eurovision Song Contest.
The city won the right to host the global music event ahead of a number of other UK cities, in place of Ukraine, the previous year’s winners, who cannot hold the event due to the Russian invasion.
Thousands of people are expected to attend the contest, and related events being held, in the nine days running up to the final at the Liverpool M&S Bank Arena on the waterfront on Saturday May 13.
Chief Superintendent Jonathan Davies of Merseyside Police, overseeing the Eurovision policing operation, said: “Hosting the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine is an amazing opportunity not only for the city of Liverpool but for Merseyside as a whole.
“Whether you are a fan of Eurovision or not, there is no escaping the fact that we will see a huge influx of people in Liverpool during the coming weeks.
“Merseyside Police is well-practised at planning for large events such as the Giants, the Labour Party Conference and numerous city-wide parades. We know that when the public act as our extra eyes and ears, it helps us keep the crowds drawn by these events safe.
“We are asking you all to look out for each other – if you see something that doesn’t feel right, tell staff or the police.
“The campaign has been designed in collaboration with Counter Terrorism Policing, who run similar campaigns at music festivals and venues, working with the music industry to encourage music lovers to Be Safe Be Sound.
“I can reassure the public that there is no specific threat relating to the Eurovision Song Contest, but we always prepare for any eventuality.
“Encouraging the public to stay alert and report anything that doesn’t feel right is a vital part of keeping people safe at any large event.
Some of these police patrols are Project Servator deployments, developed by the National Protective Security Authority (NPSA), formerly the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), and the City of London Police, which began using the style of police deployments in February 2014 to reinforce the existing “ring of steel” around the City of London.
Chief Inspector Iain Wyke of Protective Security Operations at Merseyside Police said: “These highly visible Project Servator deployments use specially-trained uniform and plainclothes officers to spot the tell-tale signs that someone may have criminal intent, such as gathering information that may help them plan or prepare to commit a crime.
“The deployments are deliberately unpredictable, and officers can turn up anywhere at any time. They are supported by colleagues in other specialist roles including the Dog Section, Mounted Section, Armed Policing, and City Watch for round-the-clock monitoring of the CCTV network used across the force area.
“If you do see a Project Servator deployment, there’s nothing to worry about. Feel free to talk to officers, they will be happy to explain what they are doing and how you can help keep people safe.”
To report suspicious activity, call the police on 101 or in an emergency 999. Suspicious activity is anything that seems out of place, unusual or does not seem to fit in with day-to-day life.
Guidance on how to help, including what suspicious activity to look out for, and confidential reporting is available at www.gov.uk/act.