In front of an In front of an audience of around 200 people and government officials attending the On-line Fraud affecting the Global Tourism Industry, in Faro on 9th November, Safe Communities Portugal celebrated its 5th Anniversary since it’s forming (originally under the name Safe Communities Algarve) in November 2012.

To celebrate the occasion the Secretary of State for Tourism Ana Mendes Godinho, accompanied by Désiderio Silva President of Regional Tourism Algarve and David Thomas President of Safe Communities Portugal (SCP) cut a cake that had been prepared by the Escola de Hotelaria e Turismo do Algarve – Faro.

On stage were Raoul Rui Martinez, President of the SCP General Assembly and board and fiscal members: Jim Litchko, Chris Stretton, Jane Thomas and Paula Santos, together with Coronel Joaquim Crasto Commander GNR Faro District (Algarve), Superintendent Viegas Martins PSP Faro District Commander and, Chief Inspector Elsa Trindade Head of the ASAE for the Algarve, to help celebrate the occasion.

The Secretary of State gave a speech which included the work of SCP and its value to the community and tourism. She highlighted the “importance of all the remarkable and extraordinary work developed by Safe Communities since their start 5 years ago, specifically with the foreigners living in this such beautiful country creating a better communication between the community with the national authorities and entities”.

Also, two years ago when she had the first meeting with the President of SCP, he reported the security concern within the foreign community living in the Algarve which had previously existed, which led to the forming of the Association – currently that problem does not exist thanks to the help of SCP.

She concluded “I wish that SCP continue with their excellent work for many years”.

David Thomas responded by thanking the Secretary of State and the President of Regional Tourism Algarve for the support that they had given and the close working relationship that exists. This enables Safe Communities to address various issues concerned and take measures to help the authorities maintaining the Algarve as a safe destination for tourists.

SCP has provided assistance to over 2000 people who have contacted us this year, and the demand on our services is increasing considerably. We have helped people in many different ways for instance in respect of missing relatives, reporting crime to police, various fraud cases and people who have been scammed, victims of crime, often involving close contact with the law enforcement agencies, civil protection authorities and embassies and consulates.

Increasingly much of our work also involves lobbying government on behalf of the community to improve services. Two examples in particular this year were our meeting with the ANPC two days after the Pedrógão Grande fire to find ways in which public communication could be improved, and with the GNR and Regional Tourism Algarve following the “Portugal Invasion” disturbances.

We are a small group pf volunteers proving a free and unique service to the community and visitors to Portugal. We are always looking for volunteers and if readers would like to help in some way Safe Communities are pleased to hear from you