“There can only be a transition and integration between peers, between structures that have the same degree of demand and complexity, which is what happens with the SEF and PJ. This is the natural integration and the solution that suits the interests of the country and the employees”, the president of the union told journalists.
Acácio Pereira was present at the ceremony, which took place at the Ministry of Internal Administration, in Lisbon, where the National Republican Guard, the Public Security Police, the Foreigners, and Borders Service, and the Judiciary Police signed four protocols that establish the model of cooperation between the forces and services security within the framework of the restructuring of the Portuguese border control system.
The signing of these protocols marks the beginning of the process of transferring police powers to the GNR, PSP, and PJ within the scope of the restructuring of the SEF.
The protocol signed between the SEF and the PJ prepares the integration of SEF inspectors in the Judiciary Police, articulating concrete forms of cooperation in operational domains (in the development of prevention, detection, and criminal investigation actions), coordination of operational activity, right of access to information, exchange of information and training.
The president of the Union of Career Investigation and Inspection of the Foreigners and Borders Service considered the protocol to be historic, as it went "from a situation of uncertainty to a situation of the initial definition of the whole process".
“Today is a day that marks the difference between before and after. Naturally, this is the beginning of a process that wants to be peaceful and that responds to three fundamental interests: the public interest, the interest of the institutions, and the interest of all employees”, he specified, adding “that there is still a way to go”.
The SEF inspectors will be transferred en bloc to the PJ, which will retain the powers of investigating human trafficking and illegal immigration, but it is not yet known how many inspectors will have to provide service at airports, which will remain in the PSP sphere, or at maritime borders, which are now controlled by the GNR, nor in what modality.
“This issue of SEF restructuring and the integration of its competencies in the various security forces and services is not something that can be done overnight, there is a complexity of functions that it is necessary to process and pass on knowledge. It has to be a proper process, but it cannot be a short process. The modality does not yet exist, it will be a mobility of employees, but the employees are integrated into the PJ's staff. It will be a full integration”, he added.
Speaking to journalists, during the ceremony, the Minister of Internal Administration announced that the restructuring of the SEF will take place during the first quarter of next year and rejected that it was about the extinction of a security service.
As part of the restructuring of the SEF, which was postponed until the creation of the Portuguese Agency for Migration and Asylum (APMA), the police competencies of the Aliens and Borders Service will pass to the PSP, GNR, and PJ, while the current attributions in terms of Administrative responsibility for foreign citizens will now be exercised by the APMA and the Institute of Registries and Notaries.
The restructuring of SEF was decided by the previous Government and approved by the Assembly of the Republic in November 2021, having already been postponed twice.