We are concerned about the implementation of ‘Project Servator’ in our city. A video tweeted by Greater Manchester Police (@GMpolice) showed uniformed officers handing out leaflets in the Manchester Arndale shopping centre. Superintendent Chris Hill stated that those who do not want to engage with leafleting officers would be ‘watched’ by plain-clothes officers. He has also urged the public not to worry about more ‘checks’ taking place.
NPMP contend that the public have the right to go about their daily life without fear of state monitoring and surveillance. When individuals are not obligated to engage with the police, they have a choice, and choosing not to is not grounds for suspicion. Being in a rush or simply preferring not to; there are countless reasons individuals may not take a leaflet or have a conversation.
Tactics like ‘stop and search’ have been shown to criminalise people and communities, without leading to effective crime prevention. ‘Project Servator’ is another example of police forces monitoring and imposing themselves upon individuals without any legitimate justification. ‘Project Servator’ presents itself as the police and community working together, but there can be no true partnership when individuals who do not participate are deemed potentially criminal.
We have asked Greater Manchester Police to justify this approach but, unsurprisingly, are yet to receive a response. We encourage the public to be aware and critical of ‘Project Servator’ and are calling on Greater Manchester Police (and forces nationally) to end this practice immediately.
Northern Police Monitoring Project is an independent campaigning and advocacy organisation, educating, empowering and organising the people of Manchester and the surrounding area in the face of increasing police harassment, violence and racism.