Photo: João Chambino

Albufeira businessowners call for more policing during summer

Number of police agents “should be adapted” throughout the year

Businessowners in Albufeira are calling for more policing during the busy summer season to improve safety in one of the Algarve’s most popular tourist destinations.

Speaking to Lusa news agency, the president of the Albufeira promotion association (APAL), Desidério Silva, said that security in activities linked to tourism is the main concern of its members.

“We are asking for an increase in (police) personnel during the bathing season,” he said, adding that the number of agents in the region should be “adaptable” throughout the year depending on the number of tourists.

As he explained, the Algarve is welcoming more and more tourists all year round, which is why he believes security forces should adapt on a monthly basis instead of a system that only reinforces security during the summer.

Desidério Silva – who has been both mayor of Albufeira and president of the regional tourism board – said he will voice his concerns during a Municipal Security Council meeting, scheduled for the first half of June, which will be attended by secretary of state for internal administration, Isabel Oneto.

This issue was already addressed last week in a meeting between representatives of APAL with Albufeira mayor José Carlos Rolo to discuss “various issues that concern the dynamics of the town and its tourist attractions.”

Speeding up the installation of a CCTV surveillance system is another issue linked to security that the businessmen said they would like to see progress quickly.

The Algarve’s shortage of lifeguards is another issue that the association believes requires a “joint effort”.

In addition to these issues, the creation of a tourist tax in the municipality was also discussed at the same meeting, which is being studied by the council, as well as the possibility of creating a monitoring commission to allocate the resulting funds.

Desidério Silva also alluded to the problems created by the lack of housing for workers in the tourism sector, which continues to affect countless businesses.

In a statement sent out to newsrooms later on, Desidério Silva and José Carlos Rolo both highlighted the importance of maintaining open dialogue between authorities and businesses.

“We are aware that tourism activity is the great engine of the local economy and it is essential that there is a permanent dialogue between the municipality and the private sector, so that the best strategies can be developed so that town is increasingly attractive, based in what are the new premises of this industry that highlight factors such as sustainability, identity or authenticity,” said Desidério Silva.

“It is necessary that the issues we have discussed here may have a permanent follow-up of the local public and private entities, so that we may add value to our territory,” he added.

Meanwhile, José Carlos Rolo vowed that the council is always available for these discussions, because “it is necessary to hear the different perspectives of those who actively participate in the local economy so that we can plan and intervene in a more effective way”.

The mayor added that “the issues addressed are of great importance and are part of the municipality’s central concerns, as many of them clearly go beyond the tourism aspect and are present in the daily lives of those who live here”.

Just last week, residents in Carvoeiro launched a petition calling for more police reinforcements for the village after witnessing cases of violence and insecurity caused by “a group of drug dealers who are constantly harassing tourists, even in broad daylight”.

By Michael Bruxo

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