More police for Algarve

SECURITY IN the Algarve will be heavily reinforced this summer with a total of 2,800 police promised for the beginning of July – a 20 per cent increase on the reinforcements deployed last season.

The news was announced during the presentation of a plan entitled ‘Algarve Seguro 2005’ (Safe Algarve 2005) by Prime Minister, José Sócrates, at a meeting held in Vilamoura recently.

The Algarve will have 500 more Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) officers and 42 more Polícia de Segurança Pública (PSP) officers, bringing the total number of police based in the Algarve to around 2,800. The reinforcements were considered by the Prime Minister as

being “fundamental” in order to guarantee “a safe Algarve this summer, essential for quality of life and tourism”.

The plan also foresees around 200 GNR trainees being posted at the stations in Faro, Portimão and Beja until the end of September. The aim is to ensure a more visible police presence particularly at beaches and around lively nightlife areas. “Around 20,000 passengers are expected to arrive daily via 100 flights during the summer season and, therefore, we are aiming to ensure the maximum security,” said a police source.

Good news for business

News of the reinforcements has been warmly welcomed by the management of hotels and resorts throughout the Algarve, and particularly by those in Loulé and Almancil, an area that has seen a worrying crime wave just recently (see restaurant robbery story on page ?).

The Resident spoke to Aníbal Moreno, president of the Associação Empresarial de Almancil (AEA), Almancil business association, to get his reaction to the announcement.

“We were already expecting reinforcements for the summer because this has been a normal procedure for some years already, but to receive a 20 per cent increase on the reinforcements sent last season is very welcome news.”

However, Aníbal Moreno still reiterated the point that “more police are needed all year round, not only during the summer months. This is absolutely essential to ensure that we do not lose business and damage our tourism industry”.

The AEA president spoke of his recent meeting with Lt. Colonel Caio, Faro’s police chief, and confirmed that it was “very positive” and that “our concerns about the Almancil area were understood”. He also claimed that the police are trying very hard to bring the promised reinforcements to the Algarve before July 1.

Was the intention to speed up reinforcements due to the episode that took place in Quarteira at the weekend, following the Carcavelos beach incident, we asked? “No, the increase was already being discussed before that took place,” said Moreno. In fact, he believes the incident in Quarteira (see article on page ?) was “insignificant and blown out of proportion by the press”, eager to capitalise on the true panic inflicted by the gang in Carcavelos.

Aníbal Moreno concluded his comments by saying: “We are still campaigning to the President of Loulé Câmara to have a new police building in Almancil and the AEA has written to the government and the police commanders of Lisbon and Évora emphasising the need for greater policing all year round in the Almancil.”