Armed police to protect Portuguese team at Euro 2016

PSP and GNR marksmen will be travelling with the national team to France next week, with the brief that they should use their weapons to protect the players.

According to Jornal i, this is the first time the nation’s police have gone armed to a football championships.

Agents will be taking not only their service weapons, but bullet-proof vests, says the paper.

With the terrorist threat in France on heightened alert, French police have encouraged the move.

In all, six PSP and two GNR agents will be accompanying the team – and other than the novelty of carrying guns, their organisation and functions will be the same as other police teams that have taken on the role of protection at football championships.

Said Luís Simões, director of the PSP’s department of operations: “Our squad will work with French police and be in all the towns and cities where Portugal is playing.”

The police delegation also plans to “be there” for fans, he said.

“Any Portuguese with problems can report them to the Portuguese police squad which will then coordinate with the French authorities”

As to the threat level, he told reporters: “We have to be specially aware of situations which affect public order, as well as to incidents that could be a sign of the preparation of an attack, or something about to happen.”

The police on their way to France are “experienced in sports policing” and will also act as “spotters”, said Simões, mingling with the crowds and keeping an eye open to anything untoward.

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