Police in Lisbon: What's the Stance?

BY Alex Couto

Police in Lisbon: What's the Stance?
Photography by Cristiana Morais


Honestly, the police are mostly chill, but let’s take extra care to keep you out of trouble.

It’s public knowledge that the Portuguese police has too many far-right members, at least according to the European Committee against Racism and Intolerance. Even so, Portuguese police have become milder since the power trip they had during the fascist days, and if you’re nice to them, they might just surprise you and be nice back. Bear in mind that the traveller card is a thing, and it works like a charm.

Something that everyone in Lisbon has noticed is that the police are super calm with tourists compared with their treatment of locals (things tend to escalate). The idea that tourists are the ones bringing in much-needed money for the Portuguese economy means that everyone approaches them with very special care, and the police are no exception.

Apparently, they’re tired of drunk tourists asking them for directions (actually, everyone is), so please charge your phone before partying, so you can access a map quickly or call an Uber if you need to. The only places where police might really get involved are the kind of clubs you wouldn’t want to party at, like Urban Beach, more famous for its racial controversies and violent incidents than its lineups.