GNR reinforcements for summer reduced

REINFORCEMENTS FOR the Algarve’s GNR police force for the summer months will be reduced in relation to previous years. Even though this has still not been confirmed by the Commander General of the GNR, local entities in the Algarve are concerned.

Civil governor António Pina admitted to the Correio da Manhã newspaper that more precise data concerning the number of residents and tourists in the Algarve for summer 2006 must be obtained in order to know how many GNR reinforcements to draft in. This, he hopes, will be achieved as early as next week.

Hélder Martins, president of the Algarve Regional Tourism Board, is alarmed. “Not reinforcing the force is inconceivable. In the summer, the population can almost triple, causing the GNR to be so stretched that they become unable to protect citizens effectively,” he stressed.

The formation of the Grupo de Intervenção de Protecção e Socorro (GIPS), which will start with 315 elementary recruits, growing to 500 by the summer, will back-up the existing officers during the height of the tourist season. However, in the summer of 2005, 700 GIPS were drafted in for back up. Colonel Costa Cabral, head of GNR public relations, confirmed that no decision has been taken.