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Making a police report in Portugal

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I'm sharing the quote below from a post in the Camino Portugues forum because I think it pertains well to the topics discussed here and is good for people to know in case they are in a position to themselves make a police report.

In case anyone is interested in the process of making a police report while walking the CP: I stayed at the cafe for more than an hour waiting for the police to show up—the cafe owner assured me that this is normal in Portugal. I finally got tired of waiting, so I gave my phone number to the waitress (who speaks good English) and walked on. She called me about an hour and a half later to ask where I was, on behalf of the police. After some debate on where precisely I was in the countryside, we settled on “after Tamel.” The police, along with the cafe owner, drove down to meet me, and I made the police report by the side of the Camino. They sent two uniformed officers—a man who spoke good English, and a woman who spoke some English. I’m sure the man could have taken the report by himself, but I appreciated that they sent a woman along to make me feel more comfortable. The police treated me with respect and took my complaint very seriously. They were very apologetic that such a thing could happen in their country, and they assured me that nothing bad you read on the Internet about the CP is true—especially there are no nasty dogs 😁 All in all, reporting to the police was fairly painless, and I encourage others to do so as well whenever necessary.
 

Quadragesima

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (2020)
For the purposes of this forum, I might add that I think one of the most important things I did was to get the locals involved, rather than calling the police myself directly. This was more accidental than intentional: I just wanted the waitress to tell me where the police station was so I could go there to make a report, but of course she wanted to know why I needed to talk to the police, so the whole story came out. There were other people in the cafe who heard me tell her what happened, and I’m pretty sure I heard her repeating the story in Portuguese to others while I was waiting, so the news spread quickly. The cafe owner was horrified that such a thing could happen on his road, and he insisted on driving me back along the way so I could show him exactly where it happened. When it seemed like the police were not ever going to come, he promised me that he would monitor the area and grab Naked Forest Guy if he appeared again. In small villages with minimal police presence, having locals on the lookout is probably more effective than relying on the police anyway. And when the police did eventually come, even though I had walked on, the cafe owner was able to show them where everything had happened. Basically he became a co-reporter with me, and I think this added immensely to my credibility—then it was not just a young(ish) foreign woman making a complaint, but a respected member of the local community. For emergency situations or in bigger cities, calling 112 is probably still the best option, but for incidents of harassment like this, which often take place in secluded areas, I think the locals can be important allies in ensuring pilgrim safety.
 

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