GNR lend tourists a hand.jpg

GNR lend tourists a hand

Special police force assists tourists visiting Algarve

The GNR is doing its bit to help tourists in need in the Algarve this summer. Forming part of the Tourist Support Patrol (TSP), small police forces have been stationed in the high-density tourist areas of Vilamoura, Albufeira and Portimão, since last week. This measure is part of the government’s Turismo em Segurança plan to protect tourists, one of the Algarve’s top economic assets, reports The Resident’s Natasha Smith.

The role of the TSP is to support foreign and national visitors to the region, offering them useful information in various languages, including English, German and Spanish, as well as forming a task force for crime prevention.

In total, 44 officers have the use of five motorbikes, 20 bicycles and five cars owned by the GNR, and much of their focus will be to safeguard the beaches and the bathers, and monitor the vendors of illegal merchandise there.

The TSPs are also stationed in Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo, Faro, Tavira, Armação de Pêra and Quarteira, but could be sent to other areas in need of additional police support.

The new scheme follows on from the success of last year’s operation, Verão Seguro (Safe Summer), where 50 police officers on bicycles patrolled the tourist hot spots, leading to the arrest of 21 individuals for various crimes, including assault, robbery and the possession of illegal firearms.

Tourists have already commented that they feel safer with the presence of additional police officers, and can enjoy their holidays without worrying. One tourist in Vilamoura told The Resident: “It is not intimidating to see so many police officers walking about. They are very approachable and are wandering around, not marching, which does make a difference.”

At the moment, there are very few TSPs in Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo, but this is because both developments have their own security and information posts. As the summer becomes busier with more tourists visiting the region, the TSP resources will definitely become more stretched throughout the Algarve ….