A presentation on policing in Portugal was given by two representatives of Loulé GNR, guest speaker Corporal Daniel Dias and his colleague Sgt Luís Tavares at a recent Almancil International Rotary Club (AIRC) meeting.
The responsibilities of the GNR (or Guarda Nacional Republicana in full) range from, but are not restricted to, dealing with traffic violations, acts of terrorism to assisting the Bombeiros with evacuations and customs enforcement. The security force also have a bomb disposal unit, mounted officers, K9 teams and a coastal patrol unit.
The GNR have also provided detachments which have participated in international operations in Iraq, East Timor and other countries where there is conflict. In general, the GNR’s purpose is to protect the community.
Corporal Dias explained that whilst many people are aware of the GNR through their day-to-day activities (hopefully not through traffic violations!), many may not be aware that, in addition to the GNR, there are four other police organisations in Portugal, namely the Public Security Police (PSP), the Judicial Police (PJ), Maritime Police and Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF), which many are involved with when applying for, or renewing, residency permits.
Corporal Dias’s primary responsibility is to head up the Safe Residency programme originally started in 2006 by Rotarian Peter Hinze and GNR Officer Frederico Fragoso, allocating each property in the Vale Telheiro and Poço Geraldo areas in Loulé a house number and GPS coordinate to assist the GNR in providing a rapid response in cases of emergencies.
It isn’t only the GNR which adopted the system. It’s also being used by other emergency and rescue services which now also have a way to find remote locations. There can be nothing worse than an ambulance not being able to locate a patient in an emergency situation.
The scheme grew to other outlying areas in Portugal and has been extended to a Safe Residents and Safe Schools programme in the Loulé area organised by Corporal Dias.
Rotary Club President Volker Biebesheimer complimented both officers on a very interesting presentation. “The fact that Portugal is considered one of the safest places in Europe to live is one of the great achievements of the GNR and other law-enforcement organisations,” he said.