Speech by the President of the Republic on the Visit to the Police Training School
Torres Novas, 3 February 2016

I am very pleased to be visiting the Police Training School today, where training is held for the men and women who will shortly be comprised in the cadres of the Public Security Police, an institution which, in its almost a century and a half of existence, is a bulwark of our collective life.

In these final stages of my mandates as President of the Republic I did not want to miss a farewell visit to the Security Forces, equally as a sign of recognition for their daily contribution, so often forgotten, for Portugal to be a State that truly observes a Democratic Rule of Law.

The visibility of the Pubic Security Police on the streets must be taken as a guarantee for the people, whose rights, in the rationale of the security forces, occupy a focal role.

In a balance often difficult to attain, but decisive for the success of their action, the role of the Security Forces comprises the supervision and prevention of criminality as well as the maintenance and redressing of public safety and order.

The role of the Police in the prevention and in combating criminality covers a wide number of situations, from domestic violence to the fight against organized crime, not leaving out the policing and safety of large cultural, religious and sports events.

I stress the special preparation demanded and conferred upon the Proximity and Victim Aid Teams, with responsibility for policing and proximity safety, on the Safe School Programme and on the teams specialized in domestic violence.

Just as I did in July 2013, when visiting the Higher Institute of Police and Internal Security Sciences, I wish to stress the central role that education and training perform in the preparation of Police staff for the demanding and diversified tasks that they will have to face on their day-to-day duties.

These women and these men will be joining the thousands of others who are responsible to guarantee that Portugal continues to be a safe country, a country where each one may live his freedom, following the laws of the Republic, fulfilling his duties, enjoying his rights and respecting the rights of his fellow citizens.

I welcome the stake that the Public Security Police has been placing on education and training, whether in the teaching of officers, in the Higher Institute, or in the professional training of chiefs and agents, here in the Police Training School.

The Portuguese expect to see in each youngster trained in these teaching institutions the features which they associate with PSP: quick thinking and readiness in the fulfilment of their mission and, above everything else, firmness of character.

It is essential that citizens trust the forces whose duty is to safeguard Public Security, that they collaborate with them and look upon them as allies in the pursuit of their legitimate interests and in the defence of their rights.

Madam Minister,
Mister National Director,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Policing is a profession which is highly consuming and involves permanent risk. Police have highly responsible duties and are subject to constant daily pressures, either by the demands on their activity, or by the severe situations with which they are frequently faced.

Violence against police is a reality which, even if little noticed by society, is an additional consuming and risk factor which must be countered through sensitizing public opinion for the effective role of the Police and through the strengthening of their authority, which also requires that agents are adequately given psychological support.

The dignity of the exercise of the policing function, in which is included the guarantee of the correct conditions of materiel, of equipment and of the infrastructure that support PSP’s activity, cannot but be a relevant concern for the Government.

Without the necessary dignifying of the policing function and of their careers, there will hardly ever be a motivation that allows for risk compensation, permanent availability and the special duties that, due to their condition, policemen are subject to.

It is necessary that we remain fully conscious of the demanding tasks which are placed before our Security Forces.

In latter times, Europe has been faced with an increase in terrorist actions, with a number of attempts which rudely awaken us to the dimension of the threat and as to how fragile are our lives. Freedom of circulation of people and goods, a central theme of the European project, has inclusively been placed in question, following the recent attempts in Paris.

I believe, however, that whilst facing terrorist barbarism, we cannot succumb. We must defend European values, we must defend our European identity, our freedoms and the set of values that substantiate our way of life.

For this purpose we rely on the irreplaceable contribution of our Security Forces, on the agility of the intelligence services and on the effective reinforcement of cooperation and sharing of intelligence with other European countries and with our allies.

Madam Minister of Internal Administration,
Mister National Director,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As President of the Republic I wish to give public testimony of the competence and unbreakable loyalty the Public Security Police has always shown me. I had the opportunity to witness, throughout my mandates, and indeed in a very direct way, the quality of their preparation, both with the unit that ensures security to State facilities and with Personal Security Corps.

I wanted to come here today, above all, to pay tribute to the women and men that daily risk their life to defend and to improve the lives of their fellow citizens. To those who, during our sleeping hours, patrol the streets of our cities. To those who, without many of us so perceiving, avoid violent incidents. To those who, patiently and discretely, fight organized crime, in order that we may live in a safer society.

It is with this very real sense of gratitude and intending, with this gesture, recognizing each one of the agents, chiefs and officers of the Public Security Police, that I have decided to take advantage of this occasion to give public recognition, with the award of the Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator, for the services rendered to the Country, at the head of this great institution, to Chief Superintendent Luís Farinha. It is thus with great esteem that I will impose on him the respective insignia.

Thank you very much.