Police prepare for a safe Christmas.jpg

Police prepare for a safe Christmas


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TRAFFIC POLICE have increased patrols on Algarve roads in preparation for the festive season.

Extra GNR and PSP teams have been highly visible since Sunday in the region – the country’s main tourist destination over Christmas.

The move is in reaction to the recent rise in the number of car accidents. Thousands of police and civil protection teams are already inspecting roads, cities and commercial areas in many locations in the country, including the Algarve.

Named Operação Natal em Segurança 2007, or Safety at Christmas, this seasonal operation will see reinforcements helping the local police forces until January 7.

More than 3,000 agents and staff from the GNR, PSP and the Autoridade Nacional da Protecção Civil e Emergência Médica, the country’s civil protection authority, are being utilised to ensure  safety this Christmas.

Some 90 teams of officers with dogs will patrol shopping centres and the main shopping streets in Portugal’s cities and towns.

The Corpo de Intervenção, the national rapid response unit, will also be in action, with an estimated extra 600 agents patrolling Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Braga, Setúbal, Aveiro, Leiria and Santarém.


After December 14, the operation will be reinforced by an extra 300 police on the streets and 140 more police cars in the Safe School programme, which comes into effect once the schools are closed.

The Christmas safety operation will also be complemented by a campaign, Mortes na Estrada – Vamos Acabar com esse Drama, launched by the government following the bus crash near Castelo Branco on November 5 when 16 people died. It includes advertising and information flyers in heavily populated areas.

Announcing the Christmas Safety Operation for 2007, Pedro Moura of the PSP said its aims were to improve people’s perception about safety conditions in the country and send out a strong message to criminals and transgressors.

“People tend to travel more at this time of the year, leaving their houses unguarded, doing more shopping, therefore carrying more money, and using their cars more,” he said.

However, attention will focus on the roads, where so many people die every year at Christmas and New Year.

Although a stronger presence of traffic control teams is already visible, especially in areas where there is a record of more accidents, like the EN125 in the Algarve, Superintendent Pedro Moura appeals to drivers to be extra careful.

And since this is time for celebrating, he said that the most important tip is to avoid drinking when driving and respecting speed limits, since it’s always better to arrive late to a family or friends reunion than dying on the road while driving there.

For more inforamtion about the national authority of road safety, please visit http://www.ansr.pt/. The website is in Portuguese only.

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