Edition 1497
20 October 2018
Edition: 1497

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Safe Celebrations

by Carrie-Marie Bratley, in News · 20-12-2017 14:01:00 · 0 Comments

At the time of going to press, Portugal’s security forces were tying up the final details of a policing plan for the festive period, which aims to bolster public safety in the country’s busiest spots and introduces unprecedented measures with regard to controlling public spaces and access to them.

Safe Celebrations

After a year dogged by deadly fires and a rise in road accidents and deaths, Portugal’s government has pledged to introduce new measures to tackle both issues from the start of 2018. And it seems the country’s authorities are as eager to ensure the festive celebrations go off without a hitch, to step into the New Year on the right foot.
Security is to be reinforced by heavily-armed PSP police in the busiest places over the festive season, particularly on New Year’s Eve, when thousands of people flock to public venues to enjoy free, open-air concerts, events and firework displays.
The heftiest portion of the public safety boost will focus on Portugal’s two biggest cities, Lisbon and Porto.
This tightening of security, according to newspaper Jornal de Notícias (JN), aims to keep festive excesses in check, as well as clamp down on petty crimes and also prevent terrorist attacks, even though the national level of alert remains low, as it did last year.
New procedures for controlling public venues and access to the busiest spots have been drawn up, and could see police officers turning revellers away from the most popular places, such as Lisbon’s Terreiro do Paço or Porto’s Aliados Avenue, if they are deemed too full.
Searches on handbags and rucksacks being carried by revellers wanting to enter these spots could also be effected, although the random body searches suggested by some earlier reports appear unlikely due to Portugal’s laws.
Cement barriers and other anti-vehicle measures such as spike strips are also to be employed, to restrict access by unauthorised or wayward vehicles. At the same time, corridors are to be created for police and emergency service vehicles, namely ambulances, to ensure swift access in the event of assistance being required.
Among the public venues deemed most important for surveillance over New Year, according to JN, are Lisbon’s Terreiro do Paço main square and 24 de Julho Avenue, and Porto’s Aliados Avenue and riverside area.
However, the scenario changes over Christmas, when popular shopping areas, such as the Baixa Pombalina, Chiado and Park of Nations in Lisbon, will be the objects of greater police attention, along with Porto’s Rua Santa Catarina.
Officers will also be beefing up their presence at locations considered ‘sensitive’, such as major transport hubs and airports, for the whole of the festive period.
Meanwhile, Portugal’s biggest hotel association, the AHP, has said all indications are that this year the country’s hotels will be even fuller over Christmas and New Year than last year.
In a press conference, Cristina Siza Vieira, executive president of the AHP, further revealed that data gathered by the association shows that, in terms of prospects for 2018, hoteliers predict an even better performance in almost all fields
(revenue, occupancy rate per room, room price, profitability),
than the record-setting 2017.

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Edition 1497
20 October 2018
Edition: 1497

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter

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