More than 500 extra Public Security Police, GNR soldiers and border police will be operating in the Algarve this summer season, from June 15th to September 15th. There will be an increase of 190 GNR on duty at any one time.
The operation was announced yesterday by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Anabela Rodrigues, who said that she is providing, "214 GNR soldiers, 294 men and women of the Public Security Police and 11 members of the Foreigners and Borders Service."
In addition, 386 members of the GNR will be engaged in a non-permanent support system to increase security at major events such as football games and the bikers’ festival in Faro.
"Portugal wants to continue to cement its top position as a safe country - and the Algarve is a region that, due to its tourism, is of huge importance to the local and national economy. We want to offer summertime visitors peace and security," said Rodrigues, adding that the crime rate has been falling.
"In the first five months of 2015, crime declined against the 2014 figures, particularly serious and violent crimes which has shown a decrease of 17%."
The Algarve’s bikers’ festival organisers and the local council agreed with the police in April that any police action at the July gathering will focus on ‘prevention’ rather than ‘repression.’
Faro’s mayor, Rogério Bacalhau, said that this was the main conclusion of a meeting with senior management from the PSP and GNR police forces and that a joint campaign will be launched to advise participants about the safety of people and possessions throughout the festival period.
"All agreed that the central issue is security, on similar lines to the police action last year," said the mayor, noting that "the emphasis now is for prevention and not repression."
The mayor added that the police operations of 2013 and 2014 will be maintained but that officers promise not to pull over bikers time and time again, as happened last year to the detriment of the feel and mood of the otherwise stress-free festival.