A new Centre for Police and Customs Cooperation was opened last week in the presence of Portuguese Interior Minister, Rui Pereira, and Juan José Lopez Garzón, leader of the Spanish government’s regional authority of Andalucia.
Situated at the border crossing between the councils of Castro Marim in Portugal and Ayamonte in Spain, the new centre is housed in the former bilateral police station at the bridge which links the two countries. The creation of the new centre will improve working conditions within the unit, as 400,000 euros is being spent on upgrading the facility.
Portuguese Interior Minister Rui Pereira explained how the new centre would allow for a better exchange of information between Portuguese and Spanish policing services and security forces: “This is more than a border crossing. It is an important centre within the Schengen community where we share in freedom, security and justice, working together to prevent transitional crime and particularly crime connected to trafficking or terrorism.”
He added: “On a daily basis, the centre will provide availability for around-the-clock operational planning and close cooperation between the Spanish and Portuguese authorities”.
Juan José Lopez Garzón of Spain described the new centre as “one more step in the cooperation between all Spanish and Portuguese policing bodies”.
Spanish authorities using the facility include the National Police and Immigration Control.The Portuguese authorities represented at the new centre are Immigration Control, Customs Police, and all levels of National Police agencies including GNR, PSP and PJ.
The new centre for Castro Marim-Ayamonte becomes the fifth centre of cooperation between authorities in Spain and Portugal. The others are located between the border crossings of Caya-Elvas, Tuy-Valença, Vilar Formoso-Fuentes de Onoro and Quintanilha-Alcanizes.
The two countries have announced that a Centre for Police and Customs Cooperation will open shortly between Marvão and Alcantara.