Speaking about summer safety in the Algarve during a visit to Faro this past weekend, Home Affairs Minister Eduardo Cabrita said “we are prepared” for the seasonal influx.
Attending a public announcement of the regional security boost for the Algarve this summer, the minister said it includes the necessary means to guarantee public safety in the Algarve region, but also to cope with wildfires.
“Portugal is now considered one of the safest countries in the world, with a very positive evolution in recent years. The Algarve has accompanied this clear trend of reducing the rates of general crime and serious or violent crime” the Minister said at the public presentation of the summer policing set-up.
The Minister stated that “What we will have over the summer is a boost in resources to ensure a safe Algarve. There will be additional resources deployed by the PSP, the GNR and a reinforcement of the SEF presence at Faro Airport”, said Eduardo Cabrita.
The PSP will be reinforced by 36 teams from the Intervention Corps of the Special Police Unit, which will include a total of 360 men. Four Prevention and Immediate Response Teams - two in Faro, two in Portimão - and mixed policing teams, made up of PSP agents and counterparts from the Spanish Police and the French National Police, will also be deployed during the summer.
The GNR, will have about 200 soldiers for permanent reinforcement, as well as four dog teams and others as patrols on horseback.
There will also be 500 soldiers posted for the main summer events, with emphasis on the concentration of Faro’s Motoclube and the Candido de Oliveira Super Cup.
The importance of the safety of the foreign community and overseas tourists was highlighted by Cabrita.
A protocol was then signed by the Secretary of State and President SCP, David Thomas, outlining new initiatives regarding security in the Algarve which the two parties will develop over the next 12 months.
Following on from last year, Safe Communities has proposed a number of new initiatives which were agreed by the Ministry and incorporated into the new protocol.
These will include projects such as the development of crime prevention leaflets in additional languages to reach out to tourists through tourist information centres throughout the region. This will be reinforced by videos and several displays, such as those held at Mar shopping and Faro Airport earlier.
There will also be a project to encourage people to report suspicious activities and crime as well as a project to involve students understanding the work of the police.
David Thomas, President of Safe Communities Portugal stated: “I am very pleased to be able to sign this protocol at such an important event. We have consistently stressed the importance of everyone working together not only to help reduce crime, but also to convey important messages concerning the prevention and protection of the population against rural fires as mentioned by the Minister”.
He added “We have been able to reflect the views of the foreign community to Government both concerning civil protection and security matters and it is encouraging that these views have been heard and acted upon, in developing projects that benefit both residents and tourists alike”.
Regarding Civil Protection and the protection of the forest against fires, “given the characteristics of our forest and climate change, we must be aware that risk requires that priority be given to prevention, forest clearing and in programmes such as the “Safe Village, Safe Persons”, stated Eduardo Cabrita.
“We will certainly have fires. What happened, especially here in the Algarve last year, is that absolute priority has been given to safeguarding human life. We have tested mechanisms to support the population, with great involvement of municipalities and all institutions in the region”, he added.
The ANEPC Faro will have four new Permanent Intervention Teams at the fire departments of Alcoutim, Monchique and Portimão, increasing the number of professional teams in the Algarve to nine. There will also be stationed permanently in the region an Extended Attack Group, made up of 35 soldiers and seven vehicles.