Public safety is an essential element in the quality of life of any community. Although the “state” in the form of the law enforcement authorities is the instrument by which public safety and protection of property is safeguarded, all of us as citizens have a role to play. Good security starts and ends with all of us and the purpose of Safe Communities is to harness public support and cooperation with the authorities in the fight against crime.
This is the same with civil protection. Everyone has a role to play in the prevention of rural fires, through risk awareness as well as self protection in the event that fires and other disaster may occour. Safe Communities has a statutory role as an official Civil Protection Volunteer organisation under Portuguese law to help create such awareness through the communication of official information and advice to the international community in Portugal as well as visitors.
Safe Communities Portugal (SCP) was formed following consultation with police as it was clear that there is a need to foster closer police public engagement with the aim of achieving greater collaboration in preventing crime.
The name “Safe Communities Portugal” has been chosen as it reflects the work that the government is already taking to help keep the country a safe place to live, and also because the word “communities” enshrines both residents and visitors.
The mission of Safe Communities Portugal is to promote safer communities, enhance public safety and security awareness and reduce the risk of becoming a victim of disasters or crime.
In achieving the aim SCP’s objectives are:
- Assist government authorities, including the GNR and PSP by providing crime prevention and public safety advice and services to the public, through but not limited to such means as: electronic means (website), social forums, the media, conducting seminars and presentations, exhibitions, newsletters and any other means of communicating advice and services to the public;
- Encourage the public to report crime and suspicious activities to the GNR, PSP and other appropriate authorities;
- Promote the GNR Programa Residência Segura (Safe Residence Program) and help the GNR communicate details of this to residents, including how to join the scheme and where to obtain information;
- Provide an independent analysis of any crime and public safety related matters for communication to the public;
- Provide a forum of experience and expertise in the private security industry to support and compliment the work of the police;
- Meet regularly with government authorities to discuss crime prevention and public safety and enlist their support in developing new initiatives to assist the community in respect of these issues;
- Promote the work of Safe Communities Algarve though the media and through other community associations;
- Liaise with both local and overseas government authorities, organizations and individuals to help develop the knowledge base of Safe Communities Algarve;
- Establish links with and enter into formal agreements with government authorities, governing authorities and organizations to promote the above aims;
- To sell or supply any items which further the aims of crime prevention and public safety;
- To obtain funding for the activities of the Association by collecting entrance fees, membership subscriptions, by obtaining sponsorship and other available funding;
- To make rules, regulations, bye-laws and standing orders concerning the operation of the Association;
- To make donations or offer support to any organization or government authority which operate in the area of public safety, crime prevention or policing; and
- To do all such other things as shall be thought fit to further the interests of the Association or to be incidental or conducive to the attainment of all or any of the objects stated in this Clause