Image: Lusa

Police protests: GNR central command gets round table with syndicates

Top brass hopes to find solution to wave of protests sweeping country

The GNR’s commander general Rui Ribeiro Veloso has called a meeting with the various syndicates representing his police force for 3pm in Lisbon today.

The move seeks to find a solution to the wave of protests sweeping the country since the government (now only in caretaker mode) agreed ‘mission supplements’ for agents of the PJ judicial police, effectively ignoring all other security forces.

Since that time, minister for interior administration José Luís Carneiro has stressed the government “does not have the conditions” to answer the demands outraged agents, saying the solution lies in a future government, unlikely to start working properly until the last week of March.

In the meantime, police ‘go slows’ on day-to-day activity are glaringly evident. Tabloid Correio da Manhã today runs with the banner headline that “PSP arrests have fallen dramatically/ protests block police force’s operational activity”.

According to the paper, just Lisbon’s Metropolitan Command has reported a 90% fall in the number of arrests in the last week. “Sources guarantee this is related to the protests that have seen dozens of PSP and GNR agents mounting daily  outside parliament”, and actions elsewhere.

The logical conclusion is that the unrest within the country’s security forces is affecting response to criminality, and will continue to do so unless things change.

This is where commander general Rui Ribeiro Veloso comes in – hoping to “find a just and balanced solution that responds to the legitimate expectations” of his police force.

This is the nub of the crisis: no one disagrees that a mission supplement awarded to only one police force is unfair. The pity is that the government sought to enact such a measure without anticipating the results.

Top brass in the PJ/ PSP/ GNR are united in appreciating the iniquities at play: PSP and GNR bosses are now simply trying to ensure that “at no point are the security and freedoms” of citizens compromised.

With luck, positive statements will emerge from this afternoon’s meeting.

This far, the impression is that agents are committed to staging protests until their demands for fair treatment receive a suitable response.

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