CCTV video surveillance

Dear Editor,

I refer to your two news articles (January 3 and 10 editions) concerning the projects to implement CCTV video surveillance in Portimão in 2019 together with Albufeira, while Olhão and Faro are looking into the same possibility.

CCTV in public areas is an important tool in helping to promote public safety and deterring crime. In the event of disorder and other incidents, it is a well proven and vital asset in helping the authorities manage the situation. It also helps in the investigation of crime and identification of suspects.

Areas where there is extensive nightlife, which can become crowded at certain times of the year, in particular Albufeira, will undoubtedly benefit. This, in fact, was part of the debate at the seminar ‘Nightlife, alcohol and public safety’ which Safe Communities Portugal held in Albufeira at the end of November 2018, attended by the Secretary of State for Internal Administration and Mayor of Albufeira to discuss ways to improve security in areas of late-night entertainment.

The use of CCTV as a public safety and security tool by the authorities is at its infancy in Portugal. Last week I met with the Ministry of Internal Administration, GNR and PSP in Portimão, and the plans to implement CCTV in 2019 appear well ahead in that town while there are also plans for Albufeira.

In the case of the latter, there are a number of practical issues which are being examined in terms of the location of cameras and the means of monitoring. In this respect, the comments of the Mayor that the project is “being held up by the Ministry of Internal Administration” may have been taken out of context. In any event, the meeting served as a necessity to get the project up and running as a priority.

Regarding the comment attributed to the Correio da Manhã in your article dated January 3 that the decision to implement the CCTV “came after a surge in violent crime in Praia da Rocha” is not supported by fact. Having discussed this with the PSP, violent crime in the area has decreased considerably over the last few years, as indeed it has throughout the Algarve.

With tourism continuing to grow in the region, the use of CCTV at selected locations will help considerably by raising standards in safety and security, one of the main priorities not only for visitors but residents and investors as well.

David Thomas
President, Safe Communities Portugal