By DAISY SAMPSON [email protected]
Miguel Macedo, the Minister of Internal Affairs, announced on July 21 that more than 180 extra GNR police officers have been deployed to the Algarve as a sign of recognition by the Government of the importance of reinforcing security in the region.
The minister came to Albufeira to meet with mayors and representatives of the GNR and PSP security forces to discuss the security situation in the region with the result of the meeting declared to have been positive by those involved.
Miguel Macedo said: “We have deployed more than 180 GNR officers for the Algarve in addition to those that are already part of the ‘Safe Summer’ programme and 30 of these officers will be based in Albufeira.
“This measure, along with the restructuring and relocation of security forces, has been aimed at calming the people and also to show that the government is aware of what is happening here.”
While the reinforcing of the police presence in the Algarve is in response to the security demands facing the region, the minister said that “we are not in a state of emergency” but instead that there was a need to take urgent security measures in the region.
He added: “We intend to work closely with the local and regional authorities so that together we can guarantee a climate of security within the population.”
However, Miguel Macedo reiterated that the security situation was not critical in the Algarve. Speaking after a meeting with the GNR on the same day, he said: “The number of crimes occurring in Albufeira and throughout the region in the first six months of 2011 has not differed much from the same period last year; in fact there has even been a slight decrease.”
Albufeira Mayor Desidério Silva said that he had been pleased with the outcome of the meeting but promised that he will continue to fight for the reorganisation and strengthening of the security forces not only for the summer, but for the entire year.
“I think things will change,” said Desidério Silva. “There is now better organisation, more security forces and further resources involved and this was the answer to the first part of our requests for action.”
Further forces for the region throughout the year, however, are not considered to be a viable option by the Minister for Internal Affairs. Miguel Macedo added that extra reinforcements for the low season would not be brought in instantly as it would need to be part of a coordinated response in partnership with the security forces.
British Consul to the Algarve Clive Jewell, attended part of the day dedicated to outlining the issue of security in the Algarve.
Clive Jewell told the Algarve Resident: “I didn’t take part in the full meeting with the mayors and the Minister of Internal Affairs, however, I was invited by Albufeira Mayor to hear about the details of the upgrading of the GNR post and about security in Albufeira as part of my normal extension of work with Albufeira Mayor.”
Ultimately, Clive Jewell believes that the Algarve remains a safe place for visitors to come to and this is proved in the fact that he would personally have no issue in going out in Albufeira at night himself.
“The British Consulate has never stated that the Algarve is not a safe place to visit but following the sad events earlier in the summer, some changes have been made to guidelines for visitors coming to the region and this advice for travellers reflects the local circumstances.”
He added: “And, of course, I would be more than happy to join some of the tens of thousands of people of all ages and nationalities on a summer night in Albufeira.”
Do you have a view on this story? Please email Editor Inês Lopes at [email protected]