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Posted by portugalpress on May 10, 2017
From left: Peter Hinze, Freddie Fragoso, Coronel Joaquim Crasto, Coronel Silva Gomes, President Hermes Alberto and Major Paulo Santos
Freddie with Officer Ash Cotton Gwent Police

Wednesday, May 3 was the 106th anniversary of the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) and Almancil International Rotary Club (AIRC) received three senior GNR members at a recent dinner held at the Conrad Algarve Hotel in Quinta do Lago.

Coronel Joaquim Crasto, Comandante GNR Algarve, Coronel Silva Gomes, Military Attaché in Paris, and Major Paulo Santos, Comandante GNR Loulé, had come specifically to hear the report presented by GNR officer Frederico (Freddie) Fragoso following his recent visit to spend time with Gwent Police in Wales.

Rotary President Hermes Alberto read a letter he had received from Freddie’s host in Wales stating: “It was a pleasure to host Freddie whilst he was undertaking the exchange visit with Gwent Police and I know that all the police officers involved were delighted to have had the opportunity to meet him.”

Beginning his presentation, Freddie’s first comment was that he was surprised that UK police officers don’t carry guns. There are, of course, specially trained officers who carry firearms in exceptional circumstances such as where there is a risk of officers coming into contact with criminals who are suspected of having firearms or high risk venues such as the Houses of Parliament in London, which recently became evident when a police officer was killed and the murderer was himself shot and killed.

In other high risk situations, officers, again with specialist training, may carry tasers, which can be used to temporarily incapacitate a violent person.

In cases where a police officer is unlikely to be confronted with violence, the first line of defence is to try and defuse the situation by talking. Freddie witnessed this approach first-hand when he accompanied an officer to a domestic disturbance. The officer dealt with the situation in a calm and controlled manner and was able to conciliate the situation and resolve it very quickly without the use of force to everyone’s satisfaction.

It is also common now for police officers to carry cameras which are fitted on their uniform. These cameras are not activated continuously but officers are able to use them when required. This ensures that officers cannot be falsely accused of intimidation or violence against a suspect and is also helpful to the officer when putting together evidence.

One other innovative idea being tested is the use of drones, something fairly new to the force. Drones are basically more cost effective than a helicopter and can be used in areas that are not easily accessible for incidents such as missing people. Other applications are also being tested, for example the drones are able to be fitted with heat-seeking equipment which can detect unusual heat coming from a property which may indicate that cannabis is being grown there.

Altogether Freddie was impressed with what he observed and has gained from the experience. He and AIRC are looking forward to hosting an officer from the Gwent Police force in the near future.

www.rotaryalmancil.org

By JAN HINZE

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