Minister says PSP and GNR police are equipped to handle summer responsibilities
Portugal’s Minister for Internal Administration has guaranteed that PSP and GNR police in the Algarve are equipped and ready to ensure a “safe summer”– which tourism authorities and hoteliers believe will be one of the busiest, if not the busiest ever in the region.
The promise came on Monday during the presentation of Algarve Seguro 2022, the annual plan which strengthens the region’s security forces in order to deal with the huge influx of summer tourists.
“PSP and GNR have all the adequate means and will be ready to guarantee the safety and tranquillity of all, both residents and holidaymakers,” José Luis Carneiro said.
Regional GNR police forces will be increased, with 230 patrols, 250 blood alcohol tests and 1,000 speed control operations promised every day.
PSP police in Portimão, Lagos, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António will welcome two new teams from the police force’s intervention corps – a special unit trained and equipped to handle potentially violent situations.
Last but not least, SEF border control authority will also be reinforced, bringing the total workforce to 109 during the summer. The minister also said SEF has taken measures to reduce the average waiting time for arriving holidaymakers at Faro Airport, which is currently around 40 minutes.
The dangers posed by wildfires were also not forgotten. Carneiro guaranteed that civil protection authorities, GNR police, Portugal’s Armed Forces and local councils are “prepared” to deal with any potential wildfires thanks to a “robust mechanism” that is in place.
The minister also acknowledged that the Algarve is expecting a very busy summer, the first after pandemic restrictions were eased, in part due to the “lamentable” war in Ukraine which will “probably lead to an increase of the number of foreigners travelling to the Algarve.”
The minister also stressed that the Algarve is the only region, apart from Lisbon and Tejo Valley, to have seen its population increase (to 460,000).
According to the minister, the Algarve’s “general feeling of safety” played an “unequivocal role” in this populational increase, helping attract more and more foreign residents to the region.
Year-round security boost needed
This populational increase is exactly why António Pina – mayor of Olhão and president of the Algarve Municipalities Association (AMAL) – believes that the region’s security forces need to be reinforced all-year-round, not just during the summer.
“The Algarve is not just about the summer,” he insisted, adding that “the government must understand” that the region also needs these reinforced security measures throughout the year.
The minister responded that the government is working on hiring an additional 2,600 GNR and PSP police officers and agents. Once hired, he guaranteed that they will be deployed according to the needs of each police force across the country in order to increase security.