José Luís Carneiro says Portugal has enough police but their organisation needs to be improved, particularly 'liberated from bureaucratic duties'...

Minister promises €600 million upgrade for Portugal’s police stations; new recruits

900 PSP agents being trained-up for summer, with recruitment drive for over 1,000 more coming in autumn

Following another weekend of violence on the streets in Greater Lisbon, minister for interior administration José Luís Carneiro has promised action.

Meeting today with police chiefs of Lisbon and Porto, he said that a €600 million investment plan to upgrade rundown police stations will be approved by the Council of Ministers in August while 900 PSP agents are being trained-up in Torres Vedras right now to help bolster various forces through the summer.

The truth is that incidents in the capital, in Porto – even the Algarve – are worrying inhabitants for their level of violence and aggression. 

Lisbon alone has seen two deaths in little more than 24-hours: one outside a disco in Parque das Nações, the other in the street in Amadora at 3am this morning.

Lisbon mayor Carlos Moedas has appealed for “more visibility of police in this city”, suggesting the council could help the government by providing mobile police stations.

“People are not seeing police in the streets”, he stressed yesterday.

The weekend was further marked by news that a police station in Porto was forced to close “for various hours” because it simply didn’t have the agents to keep it open.

Minister Carneiro told reporters he was not aware of the situation – but that he accepted this was “not the first time” something like this has happened in the summer.

The solution is better management of manpower, and more money to “reorganise the country’s network of police stations”, he said – not really giving any further details.

Trying his best to put a different slant on the situation, Mr Carneiro said Portugal actually has more police agents per 100,000 inhabitants, as well as a larger number of police stations, than many other European countries. 

He went so far as to say Portugal has “almost four times more police per 100,000 inhabitants than Finland” but that statement slightly lost its impact as stories started breaking over alleged police brutality in Trofa last weekend.

The bottom line is that police agents need to be ‘seen’ rather than left dealing with bureaucratic duties.

Meantime SINAPOL – the national police syndicate – has been talking to TSF Rádio, lamenting the fact that policing/ security has always been treated like a ‘poor relation’ in Portugal.

SINAPOL president Armando Ferreira said it is urgent that police numbers are brought to a point where they can deal with incidents as they happen.

He cited PSP presence at a football match in Porto when two agents came under attack from youths in Gondomar. The agents called for back-up, but there was no-one available.

Situations like this cannot continue, he told TSF.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com