GNR general commander Rui Clero is the man who insists that PSP control of cruise ships would "cause serious operational disconformities". He is pictured here with the architect of SEF's extinction, former interior minister Eduardo Cabrita

SEF extinction: government changes goalposts again

PSP ‘to be removed from control of entirety of maritime frontier’

With international flights still facing the prospect of agonising delays through passport control, the government is expected to throw another spanner into the works of what has to be the worst ‘changeover in policing policies’ in recent political history.

SEF borders’ agency ‘extinction’ will now not see maritime frontier controls shared between the GNR and PSP.

The GNR is to have total control over maritime frontiers, says the national press.

“This alteration had been requested by the GNR in March”, explains Diário de Notícias today. The service “predicted problems with the integrated management of frontiers, which saw the PSP responsible for ‘controlling’ the comings and goings of cruise ships’.

In order to maintain “continuity in security of the maritime frontier” minister for interior administration José Luís Carneiro has “rectifed the decision taken by his predecessor (Eduardo Cabrita)” and is expected to announce “an alteration to the decree-law approved in November 2021” very soon.

When it comes to airport arrivals, however, the PSP is still going to be the ‘first force’ in command – which has led to a source for this force saying the obvious: “Airport and cruise terminals imply the same type of work, requiring identical methodologies and specific knowledge, with the obvious advantage that the professionals who work in these places are able to intervene in one or the other structure…”

So what is this desultory shuffling and reshuffling of competences all about?

There is a saying in Portugal that hints at a rather primitive kind of male power-play, but it is unprintable. Suffice it to say, the constant changing of goal posts – and the apparent inability of authorities to keep SEF staff ‘in the loop of decision-making’ has contributed to serious problems currently faced by visitors to Portugal when they arrive at the country’s airports.

Add to this issues within the wider airline industry causing multiple flight cancellations (often at the ‘last minute’), and the start of the holiday season is looking fairly horrendous.

For now, SEF is understood to be seeking a subpoena to stop the government drafting in police from the GNR and PSP to help out at unmanned passport control booths.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com