Tuesday, 19 September 2017
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gnrWednesday 3rd May was the 106th Anniversary of the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) and Almancil International Rotary Club (AIRC) was delighted to receive three senior GNR members at the Rotary dinner at the Conrad Hotel.
Coronel Joachim Crasto, Comandante GNR Algarve, Coronel Silva Gomes, Military Attaché in Paris and Major Paulo Santos, Comandante GNR Loulè had come specifically to hear the report presented by GNR Officer Frederico (Freddie) Fragoso following his recent visit to spend time with Gwent Police in Wales.

Freddie with Officer Ash Cotton Gwent Police President Hermes Alberto read a letter he had received from Freddie’s host in Wales stating “It was a pleasure to host Freddie whilst he was undertaking the exchange visit with Gwent Police and I know that all the police officers involved were delighted to have had the opportunity to meet him”.

Beginning his Presentation, Freddie’s first comment was that he was surprised that UK police officers don’t carry guns. There are, of course, specially trained officers who carry firearms in exceptional circumstances such as where there is a risk of officers coming into contact with criminals who are suspected of having firearms or high risk venues such as the houses of Parliament in London which recently became evident when a police officer was killed and the murderer was himself shot and killed. In other high risk situations, officers, again with specialist training may carry tasers, which can be used to temporarily incapacitate a violent person. In cases where a police officer is unlikely to be confronted with violence, the first line of defence is to try and defuse the situation by talking. Freddie witnessed this approach first-hand when he accompanied an officer to a domestic disturbance. The officer dealt with the situation in a calm and controlled manner and was able to conciliate the situation and resolve it very quickly without the use of force to everyone’s satisfaction.

It is also common now for police officers to carry cameras which are fitted on their uniform. These cameras are not activated continuously but officers are able to use them when required. This ensures that officers cannot be falsely accused of intimidation or violence against a suspect and is also helpful to the officer when putting together evidence.

One other innovative idea being tested is the use of drones. The drones are fairly new to the force. They are basically more cost effective than a helicopter and can be used in areas that are not easily accessible for incidents such as missing people. Other applications are also being tested, for example the drones are able to be fitted with heat seeking equipment which can detect unusual heat coming from a property which may indicate that cannabis is being grown there.

On Freddie’s final day with the Gwent Police he was shown how they gather senior leaders around the force together via video link to discuss the day’s emerging issues and allocation of resources.

It was obvious that Freddie was very impressed with the transport available to the police, especially a high powered BMW. Sadly for Freddie he wasn’t able to test drive it. Only highly trained officers are permitted to drive these cars. One such officer, Ash Cotton did treat Freddie to a ride in one of them.

Altogether Freddie was impressed with what he observed and has gained from the experience. He and AIRC are looking forward to hosting an officer from the Gwent Police force in the near future.

W: www.rotaryalmancil.org

L toR: Peter Hinze, Freddie Fragoso, Cor Joachim Crasto, Cor Silva Gomes, Pres Hermes Alberto, Maj Paulo Santos