Security “was not and is not a priority” in Portugal, says President of OSCOT

A report in the Diario de Noticais quotes António Nunes, president of the Observatory for Security, Organized Crime and Terrorism (OSCOT), as stating that he believes “security was not and is not a priority” in Portugal. At the conference organized by the union that represents the inspectors of the Aliens and Borders Service (SEF), the general opinion was that there is a lack of investment in national security and that Portugal is not free from the danger of the terrorist threat.

For him, the “effective assessment of the terrorist threat” in Portugal is low, and this is later related to investments in the security forces.

“At a time when, in fact, there is a real incident in Portugal, are we all going to be here on this stage, perhaps crying out the pain of ‘why did not we do more’?”

Despite being viewed by the majority as a safe country, the lack of investment in security by governments, the current and previous ones, has been criticized.

This week it was reported that the SEF does not have enough agents to deal with the steady increase in inflows in the country. Since 2011, the number of passengers inspected by the SEF at Lisbon airport has increased by 46%, but the number of inspectors has only increased by 6%.

António Gameiro of the PS, admitted the need for “special attention in this area” and said that previous governments were “not very intense” in strengthening security measures.

Now, “the issue of security is on the table as a national and European priority” and no one questions the importance of border services”.

“The government should go further,” said António Rebelo de Sousa, who argues that the personal security of citizens should be at the level of education, health and social security, supported by the model of welfare state.

According to the professor, there is in Portugal the “syndrome as long as we do not have major problems, we do the minimum necessary for people to feel minimally safe.”

Telmo Correio also affirmed that there were already situations of terrorism risk in Portugal – as in 2004, when terrorist individuals were flagged by foreign police, and recently with the detection of radicalized Portuguese and radicalization centers in national territory. “If the risk increases, the country must be aware of the risk,” said Telmo Correia.

Portugal is inserted in the context of NATO and the European Union “cannot ignore” this threat, said Carlos Abreu.

The Minister of Internal Administration, Constança Urbano de Sousa, announced at the same conference a new organic law and professional status for the SEF, stating that “its organic structure is very heavy for its size” and “personnel management is often quite inflexible.”


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