PSP controlled 7.8 million passengers and detained 133 at Portuguese airports in six months


Lisbon, May 4, 2024 (Lusa) – The PSP controlled around 7.8 million passengers, detained 133 people and refused entry to 929 foreigners at airports in the first six months in which it took over the powers of the SEF, according to that police.

Taking stock of the first six months of air border control, the Public Security Police reports that, since October 29, it has controlled 7,797,05 passengers, intercepted 12,398 people, refused entry to 929, detained 133 and received 341 requests for international protection (commonly called asylum request) of foreign citizens.

In an interview with the Lusa agency, the PSP’s deputy national director of Airport Security and Border Control, Pedro Teixeira, stated that since the police took over the powers of air border control, the number of passengers who are intercepted upon entering national territory has increased. , an increase that is related to the increase in passengers at airports.

“The procedural rules that existed before October 29, 2023 are precisely the same as those that occur today, the number of interceptions has increased greatly due to the substantial increase in the number of passengers at airports”, he explained, noting that, in six months, 46 foreign citizens were removed from the country.

According to the PSP, the majority of the 133 arrests are related to falsified or third-party documents.

This security force indicates that the most common type of crime in the airport context is simple theft, namely theft of opportunity, which has decreased in the first months of the year.

Also in the first months of the year, the PSP has recorded a decrease in the number of incidents relating to disorderly passengers on board compared to the same period in 2023.

With the extinction of the Foreigners and Borders Service, on October 29, the PSP assumed control of the air borders, while the GNR was responsible for the sea and land borders, passing administrative powers in immigration matters to the Agency for Migration Integration and Asylum (AIMA).

Pedro Teixeira gave Lusa a positive review of the first six months.

“In October I heard publicly about the lack of security at the borders. I heard about disrupting borders. After six months, the indicators we have and what is visible to all of us is that in fact the borders continue to work and continue to work safely”, he stressed.

In total, the PSP controls the air borders at nine border posts: Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Madeira, Terceira, Santa Maria, São Miguel, Porto Santo and Beja.

Although they are not considered air border posts, the PSP also carries out border control functions at Tires Aerodrome and Horta Airport.

Regarding the management of temporary installation centers (CIT) and similar spaces, the PSP is responsible for a CIT (Santo António Housing Unit, in Porto) and three similar spaces, in Lisbon, Porto and Faro.

In November and December, the news was about the high number of foreign citizens requesting asylum and who were waiting for a response from AIMA in the international area of ​​the airport without “the most appropriate conditions” and the capacity of the Space Equivalent to a Temporary Installation Center ( EECIT).

“There was enormous migratory pressure, there was a high number of requests for international protection and, under the law, AIMA has the responsibility to hear these people within seven days”, he said, explaining that, in the initial phase, response times from AIMA “were a bit time-consuming” which “meant that people had to remain in the international space”.

Pedro Teixeira said that “today’s scenario is completely different”, the situation is outdated and AIMA’s response is smaller.

The official also admitted that there is migratory pressure in Europe, with Portugal not escaping these phenomena of migratory pressure.

In this sense and to deal with this pressure, PSP started to manage the Space Equipped as a Temporary Installation Center (EECIT) at Lisbon airport in a different way by taking advantage of the capabilities of similar spaces at Faro and Porto airports.

“As soon as there is a high number of citizens at Lisbon airport and the capacity at Lisbon’s EECIT is saturated, we promote the transfer of citizens to other similar spaces. This has been what allows us to alleviate the pressure on the main international airport,” he said.

Pedro Teixeira also said that 95% of asylum requests are made at Lisbon airport.