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Câmaras call for more police reinforcements

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

Câmaras Association president Macário Correia has joined the growing band of Algarve-based people calling on the government to beef up the police presence in the region in the wake of worldwide publicity about attacks on tourists.

Macário Correia of the Algarve Câmaras Association, AMAL, wants the next Portuguese Government, elected on June 5, to increase police numbers and patrolling.

He told the Algarve Resident: “The 100 policemen who will be coming to the Algarve in July and August are not enough to provide an effective security service in the region because they are not all on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I hope that the new Government reconsider this decision and send more police to the region this summer.”

Referring to the fact that many Portuguese people from outside the region move to the Algarve in the summer for their holiday, he said: “The increase in the number of tourists should be accompanied by more policemen.”

Commenting about the recent incidents that have grabbed the headlines, he said: “There are occasional cases of crime in the region, which should not scare people. We are always keen to improve security in the region.”

Albufeira Mayor Desidério Silva told the Algarve Resident: “We need more police. The police reinforcements proposed by the Government for this summer season are not enough.

“Albufeira and the rest of the Algarve need a security strategy and the new Government needs to be aware of this and take action immediately. The region needs extra policemen all year round, not just in the summer.”

He added: “Crime reports seem to have calmed down a bit for now. We will make every effort to increase security in the region and ensure that the Algarve remains a safe holiday destination.

Some action has already been taken, with Albufeira already reinforced by an extra 24 GNR officers since June 1.

A spokesman from the GNR told the Algarve Resident: “These men have strengthened the security in the city of Albufeira and the number of policemen patrolling it this summer is higher than in recent years.”

The recent attacks and apparent lack of GNR police to patrol has been criticised by the widow of a man who died while on holiday in Vilamoura in 2008.

Marie Morley claims her husband David Morley did not die accidentally despite the case now being filed by Portuguese authorities. She also referred to the case of the recent death of Ian Haggath.

Marie Morley told the regional English newspaper The Sunday Sun that “enough is enough,” after the latest wave of attacks on British tourists in the Algarve.

“I would like to think that somebody high up in Portugal is now saying something must be done at the highest level, and cascading that down,” she said.

“If Portugal does not start protecting its tourists, their industry will not survive. Tourism is extremely important to Portugal’s economy and they must prioritise doing more to protect people in popular areas like Vilamoura and Albufeira.”

In a breakthrough in the fight against attacks on visitors, GNR police arrested two men on June 12 who robbed a British tourist who was walking back to his accommodation from the main bar area of Oura in Albufeira.

A spokesman from the GNR police told the Algarve Resident: “The suspects attacked the victim at Avenida dos Descobrimentos and a patrol team of the Criminal Investigation Division of the GNR who was nearby intervened and arrested two individuals, who are aged 19 and 20.

“The men appeared in court on June 13 and are now being held in custody until the court decides about the case.”

According to the police, the two men are from Ferreiras and have criminal records for drug trafficking, robbery and theft.

The GNR also confirmed that they are suspected of other assaults on tourists in Albufeira.

Meanwhile, in Quarteira an armed 18-year old man of Guinean nationality barricaded himself in a building at Avenida Sá Carneiro.

The man shot at a GNR officer when the police were called to the scene.

A spokesman from the GNR police said: “The man was at a bar in the area and came out to the street and fired the shotgun he had with him. The bar door was closed after that and the man began kicking the door.

“The owner of the bar called the police and when we went to the place he was barricaded and shot at one officer, who suffered minor injuries.”

The man was arrested and appeared in Loulé court, where the judge decided to put him in custody until a hearing can be held.

Do you have a view on this story? Please email Editor Inês Lopes at [email protected]