Portugal´s only registered non-profit crime prevention association providing dedicated information and support services to the community

17 August 2016


Not surprisingly much of this newsletter concerns the terrible forest fires that have in just one week turned over 100,000 hectares of forest and rural land into ashes. When you consider that the most devastating of these was likely caused by one individual deliberately and the others through negligence, one has to ask what more can be done to prevent these sorts of disasters in future. The clue may rest with the recent statement by the Minister of Interior concerning the vast amount of unoccupied land which is never cleaned.

In terms of prevention awareness and keeping you the general public informed, we will continue our campaign through seminars, this newsletter, through our website and Facebook. Incidentally our Facebook posts in the week since the first fire risk warning were published on 6th August, we have reached nearly 150,000 people. I thank all of you who shared this important information. Another step we have taken on our website is to introduce six key direct links on our Civil Protection page, where you can quickly monitor most of the key elements that involve public safety.

Lastly on this subject, a reminder please that smoking is prohibited in forest and bush areas during the critical fire period or when the fire risk is very high or extreme.

I am pleased to announce that the Safe Communities Portugal website has been expanded to include a dedicated section for Lisbon District. This has been created in conjunction with the various law enforcement agencies and the civil protection agency, who have provided various material for this development. The new section contains the work and contact details of the GNR, PSP. SEF, Judicial Police and civil protection, and there is a direct on-line facility to report suspicious activities. There is also an area for daily news for Lisbon District which covers the activities of all these agencies. There are links to the main areas of the SCP website where general crime prevention and public safety advice as well as our other services can be found.
I thank the law enforcement agencies concerned for all their assistance. The home page for Safe Communities Lisbon can be found here.

We are keen to collaborate with community minded companies that can help make Portugal a safe place to live and visit. This innovative approach is aimed at promoting the good work of the business concerned as well as helping to maintain a safe and secure environment through supporting the work of our association.

We therefore thank Cerro Novo Property Sales and ServicesCurrencies Direct and Toldolanda for sponsoring this newsletter and for being one of our supporters.

To learn more about how to sponsor a newsletter by becoming one of our supporters please contact us on 913045093 or at   info@safecommunitiesportugal.com

David Thomas
Safe Communities Portugal


Portugal Fires - Overview 

August has certainly been a very bad month as far as forest fires are concerned, particularly in the north of the country and Madeira. We circulated a high temperature and wind warning which we received from the ANPC on 6th August, and the forecast was spot on. It's just a pity that not everyone took the advice - hence the terrible results seen in the media, social media and in the newspapers. Rather than give a description of the fires, the following are the main facts:
  • On 8th August there were some 515 wildfires, with over 4000 fire fighters tackling these, using over 1000 vehicles and 16 aircraft/helicopter;
  • The following day there were 7 major fires particularly in the areas of Agueda and Arouca in the north of the country - these fires were tackled but have since reignited and were still burning on 13th August. High winds and temperatures are facilitating the spread of these fires;
  • The fires in Madeira have resulted in four deaths, around 1000 people displaced, over 300 treated for from smoke inhalation; and in Funchal 208 properties damaged, including the luxury Choupana - 5 star hotel. Tourists were evacuated from several hotels as a precaution.The cost required to make good the damage is estimated to be €55 million. Cristiano Ronaldo has donated around €100,000 to help;
  • A further two deaths from fires were recorded on the mainland, bring the total to six;
  • The President of Arouca Municipality,José Artur Neves, estimates that the direct loses resulting the fires which hit Aveiro, is over €120 million of which more than  €117 million, is the cost of replacing 12,000 hectares of eucalyptus and 5000 pine trees that were destroyed;.
  • The European system of information on forest fires estimate the area in Portugal burned amounted to about 116,017 hectares in the week ending 12th August.. This includes over 3000 hectares in Madeira and 1959 hectares in the Algarve. By comparison, from the start of the year until 5th August, the area burned was 85,146 hectares.;
  • There have been many major road closures in the north of the country due to the fires causing traffic disruption;
  • The Army was called in to fight fires mainly using heavy vehicles to clear tracks. There are calls for the Air Force to use its planes in future (see article);
  • Aircraft were brought in from Spain, Morocco, Italy and Russia to deal with the fire;. Russia has may send air support;
  • East Timor has contributed €2 million to help fight fires;
  • Since the start of the year the Judicial Police have arrested 26 people for arson, including the person who has reportedly confessed to start the fire in Funchal.
This is a major challenge for the country, and of course the very brave fire fighters and those from the GNR, PSP and civil protection commanders. They are doing a fantastic job. I met the Commander of Civil Protection Madeira, Luís Neri in April and have written to him following the fires passing on our appreciation to all concerned.
Person arrested for intentionally starting the Funchal Fires

The Judicial Police through the Criminal Investigation Department of Funchal, have identified and arrested a 24-year - old man, for causing a fire. The accused has confessed to police that he intentionally started the fire iusing a cigarette lighter in a forest area near the city of Funchal. 

Due to weather conditions strong wind and high temperatures (38C), the fire quickly spread over large areas even reaching the urban perimeter.

As a result, the fire continued for 3 days, resulting in the death of four people, over 300 treated for smoke inhalation and damage to property worth Euros 55 million. A total of 1000 people were evacuated at one stage and a luxury 5 star hotel was destroyed. Many tourists experienced flight delays and were transferred to other hotels.  

The suspect for starting the fire in Sao Roque remains in custody,

In another case on 6th August the  Judicial police detained a man suspected of starting forest fires in  Pampilhosa, Aveiro - one of the worst hit areas. The fire started on private land, with the detainee setting fire to large amounts of dry vegetation intending to clean the area. The fire risk in the area was at its highest level and the maximum temperatures reach almost 40 degrees - any fires therefore forbidden. The result put households and people living in adjoining houses to the land at risk. The detainee, a 65 - year-old retired businessman, will appear before the judicial Authorities in the region Aveiro for first interrogation. 

This year the Judicial Police has identified and detained 26 people so far for starting forest fires.

Madeira fires cause estimated €55 million in loses

The Mayor of Funchal, Paulo Cafôfo, has stated on Thursday 11th August that, in addition to the loss of human life, the material damage to private property and public in the county caused by the fires that broke out on Monday is estimated at €55 million.

The mayor spoke at the press conference regarding the fires in Funchal, which consumed an area greater than 500 hectares, mentioning that it will present this first survey of damage to the meeting with the Prime Minister, António Costa who was visiting the island.

According to him, this first survey involving the parish councils, there are 208 public and private buildings were affected by the fires in the county, with 105 totally destroyed and 103 with partial damage.

Madeira fires result in one of the world's largest private collection of orchids destroyed.

Jardim Orquidea, on the southern edge of the Botanical Gardens, in Madeira, where a collection of 50,000 fully-grown orchids was destroyed on Tuesday night. 

The private collection dates back 110 years and had been maintained over four generations of the Pregetter family. Jardim Orquídea was considered to be one of the largest private collections in the world, with many of the specimens extinct elsewhere. 

Only 2000 plants are thought to recoverable and with a normal growing cycle of up to 20 years the future of the gardens remains uncertain.

GNR inspects over 3 million households and identifies over 20,000 potential fire infringements

In view of the weather forecast for the next few days, pointing to continued hot and dry weather, the National Republican Guard (GNR) will keep active its reinforcement of patrolling and surveillance in forest areas. 

These actions are designed to detect and deter practices that may contribute to the increased risk of forest fire, particularly in terms of burning and the use of machinery in agricultural / forestry areas.

The GNR is also contacting various organisers of festivals in order to ensure that they strictly comply with the ban on the use of rockets/fireworks and calling for containment of fire use in rural areas.

During 2016, the GNR identified 298 people and detained ten for arson. 

The GNR has activated Operation "Zero Ignition", which aims to raise awareness and monitor the cleaning of land next to houses and roads, in compliance with the legislation governing this issue (Decree Law 124/2006 - National Defence System Forest Fire).

 In 2015, GNR inspected 470,565 properties and land, an amount that has increased significantly this year, having alreadyinspected 3,088,483 lands/properties Some 20,618 were identified with potential infringement situations. For these situations, it was possible to subsequently determine that most owners proceeded in time to the removal of materials that could constitute a risk, having been served notices of administrative offence in other situations.

Since 2014 the GNR has raised over 6000 notices of administrative offences for failure to maintain fuel management/land cleaning.

Helping people in Madeira

Donation appeals 

The Madeira fires have caused considerable damage to some parts of the island which in some instances will take years to replace. Some people affected by the fires have lost many of their items required for everyday living.

In response the Funchal Municipality and some civic minded people have set up appeals for money and items to help victims of the fires. These include, the Funchal Municipality appeal; one to rebuild the Orchid Farm; one to help animal welfare and various others.

We have put these all together in the following link to help you contribute to these very worthwhile causes.


Notable Arrests

Judicial police detained robbery suspect at gunpoint

The Judicial Police, through the Northern Board, have identified and arrested a man for alleged attempted aggravated theft at bank branches in Guimarães. 

The incidents occurred on 28th July and early August when the defendant used a replica firearm and covered his face with a handkerchief and a surgical mask. The first crime was unsuccessful because the bank did not have money on its premise and the second failed because bank officials immediately contacted the police. 

The arrested person 41 - year-old, unemployed, with no criminal record, will be present at the first court hearing for the application of enforcement measures.
Lisbon - Four arrested by PSP for train robberies

On 10th August the PSP arrested four men, between 17 and 21 years in connection with a series of robberies.

The group always attacked together and chose young, fragile and isolated victims. They are believed to have carried out at least 27 robberies with threats of aggression, knives and even syringes. The crimes occurred in trains, stations on the Cascais line and near schools. The robbers threatened victims not to make complaints to police.

According to information provided, the attacks started at the start of the year. The first complaints came to the PSP in February and following the viewing of video surveillance at train stations, and the accounts of victims and witnesses.

On 10th August at 7:00 a.m., the PSP conducted five searches in Cascais neighbourhood and arrested four suspects. It is not ruled out that there is at least one other who has not been caught. Knives were seized, daggers, a saber, a bat and hashish. They still had a camera and a mobile phone that is suspected to have been stolen.

According to the PSP, the thefts occurred "mainly on trains and railway stations on the route to Cascais, as well as at schools in the vicinity." The victims were chosen not to offer resistance. The thieves threatened the victims with bladed weapons, aggression and reached the point where syringes, which said that infected were involved. They stole money, mobile phones and goods they could sell quickly.

The robbers later approached some of the victims, trying to force them to withdraw complaints they had made to the PSP.

Lisbon - 4.3 tons of Bivalves seized

The GNR Coastal Control Detachment Lisbon seized on 4th August in Lisbon and Samouco, 4.3 tons of bivalves in three catches, all with the estimated value of more than €30,000.

The surveillance operation was aimed at the detection of offences related to professional fishing, catch of prohibited species and harvesting and illegal transportation of bivalves.

During the inspection at the estuary of the Tagus River, the GNR detected several offences related to professional fishing, and seized 300 kilograms of clams, which is forbidden to catch in the river Tagus.

In the Samouco area the GNR seized a shipment of 4 tons of bivalves from a man who was not licensed to practice harvesting of bivalve, nor had any documents attesting to its origin.
Bivalves because they are alive were returned to their natural habitat.
GNR Quarteira seize nearly 10 kgs of cannabis and arrest one person

On 7th August GNR Quarteira visited the residence of a suspected person aged 52 years and discovered a cannabis production greenhouse. Following the arrest of the individual and following the search carried out of the apartment, located in the center of Quarteira, the following  were seized:

* 9.5 kilograms of cannabis (the equivalent of over 19,000 doses);
* A complete system of lighting, watering, ventilation and odour extraction;
* Several objects associated with the cultivation and cannabis packaging;
* Many fertilizers, bottles and sealed bags;
* Five mobile phones;
* 430 euros in cash.

The detainee is to be presented to the Department of Investigation and Penal Action prosecution of Loulé.

Local News

SEF - Immigration Borders and Asylum Report 2015

The recently released Immigration - Borders and Asylum report indicates that there a total of 388,731 registered foreigners resident in Portugal. This is a slight decrease of -1.6% since 2010.

The largest nationality is Brasil at 82,590, followed by Cape Verde 38,674 with China in 5th place at 21,329. The number of registered British subjects registered in Portugal stands at 17,230 although it is believed many more live here without registration or live here on a temporary basis.

The District with the highest number of foreigners is the Algarve at 58,246 showing an increase of 1.8% since 2010.

In terms of growth by nationality, the largest increases have been from Brazil, Romania, China and France.

Statistics on the number of foreign residents in Portugal, divided into various districts can be found here.
104 Year Old Assailant

It is reported that at an old peoples home in Aljustrel, Alentejo, a 104 year old man struck an 82 year old woman around the head with his walking stick.She was taken to hospital with serious head injuries.

According to the report the incident took place whilst she was trying to remove him from her bedroom!
Weapons and ammunition seized from garage in Madeira

The Public Security Police have seized several weapons and ammunition from the house of a person who died 11 years ago, as part of steps taken in the aftermath of the fires in Madeira. In a statement, the PSP stated that this took place in Funchal, "in the course of relief operations and assistance to the population and as a result of steps taken by the Weapons Centre and Explosives unit".

This material was deposited" illicitly in the garage of a residence "was not registered, and was being "stored without minimum security conditions and packaging ".

The seizure included three rifles class D, two weapons of class C (one .44 calibre and the other .22 calibre), two other weapons and an obsolete fire alarm revolver, four 'boxers' (brass knuckles), a disguised firearm in the form of pen and three pipes containing long firearms.

The PSP added that they had also seized 35 kilos of ammunition Class D of various calibres and brands, five kilograms of fulminant (metal capsules that contain the priming of firearms), among others.
Alleged arsonist being sought by police

The man suspected of having caused 16 fires in an area between the beaches of Marinha and Benagil, Western Algarve continues to be sought by the authorities.

One of the main fires he is believed to have started destroyed everything combustible in a valley which leads to Benagil beach. Vegetation was destroyed, as were wooden barriers protecting viewers from falling down cliffs.

A house almost was consumed by flames. The fire was found to have been started at various points causing maximum difficulty for the Lagoa fire service in difficult terrain.

The same suspect, a 40-year-old man with a criminal record and mental disorders, also tried to set fire to the nearby pine forest in Benagil, but this was detected by firefighters who fought the fire and quickly extinguished it.

The arsonist, who lives in the area, was spotted by witnesses on the first night. Since then he has not been seen but is thought to be hiding in the Benagil area.

The Judicial Police and GNR are keen to apprehend this man before his actions lead to a more serious situation. Anyone seeing him should contact the nearest police station or 112 immediately.
Official calls for the Air Force to be allowed to fight fires

The president of the Officers Association of the Armed Forces (AOFA) says that the Air Force should be allowed to resume fighting the fires, considering that a political decision would save the state money.

"If there is a decision of the Government say that from today the Air Force (AF) could fight fires, we could not do so, because 20 years ago it removed the means to use the aircraft to fight fires.

Obviously you need to make a significant investment, "explained António Mota. He added that this would be cheaper to the state as the pilots are already paid and in service all year, and that the structures in the country such as airfields and runways, as well as mechanical and maintenance teams all exist.

António Mota emphasised that the AF "has been completely absent from fighting fires for 20 years," and instead there was a series of agreements with private companies, which therefore have a monopoly in fighting fires in Portugal.

The official said that a report was discussed on Thursday, but the government, said it would require a budget of about 60 million euros over two years to again provide the FA with the means to fight the fires, including special training for pilots, as is the case in most European countries.

GNR - Fighting forest fires

The National Republican Guard (GNR) has deployed at this time 500 personnel of the Protection and Relief Intervention Group (GIPS) to help combat forest fires, divided into the following various areas.

So far in August some 462 GIPS personnel have been airlifted by helicopters to combat 195 fires. Since the beginning of the year there were 1716 helicopter missions to combat and extinguish the early stage of 894 fires.

Safe Communities Portugal

Appointment of new Advisers to Safe Communities Portugal 

I have great pleasure in announcing the appointment of two advisers to Safe Communities Portugal.
Dra. Ana Silva 

The first of these is Dra.  Ana Isabel Sebastião Dias da Silva, as a number of you will know both through her veterinary work and as a presenter at our seminars. Dra Ana Silva, was born in November 1975. Since a young girl she wanted to treat and protect animals, so decided to be a Veterinarian. She graduated in Veterinary Medicine in 1999, she holds a Masters in Veterinary Public Health since 2002 and completed an MBA in 2016. 

Ana has considerable experience working in Veterinary Medicine Clinics, first in Lisbon and since 2004 in Monchique, in her own veterinary clinic. She also worked in Sonae in Quality Control at a fish market, from 1999 to 2001 and in Alicontrol in projects on the fish market, from 2001 to 2004. Since 2014 is also working on Municipio de Monchique, coordinating the department of Veterinary and Public Health, where is developing projects on the animal welfare, especially concerning cats. She advises SCP on animal matters, including animal cruelty issues, and helps with communication.

Chis Stretton

The second appointment is Chris Stretton as Security Adviser to Safe Communities Portugal.  Chris moved to the Algarve after 25 years service with the UK Royal Air Force Police which included 2 senior appointments with NATO, the last as Head of Security for Allied Command Operations. This was followed by 6 years with a UN agency -  the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) -  where he was the Head of Security and the Organisation's Principal Security Advisor. 

It was during his time that he and his security management team were contributing members of the OPCW 2013 Nobel Peace Prize winning team that successfully delivered the complete elimination of chemical weapons in war-torn Syria.  He has been a member of both NATO's and the UN's security policy committees and has authored several major security and disaster management (Consequence Management) reports for the UK and NATO. Chris will be helping through research and further developing our civil protection role.

They join Professor Maria Bras of the University of the Algarve, who has been an adviser for the last 3 years. The role of the advisers is to bring specialist knowledge and skills to the association relevant to its work. This helps us deliver a professional service based on considerable experience and qualifications in a diverse range of fields.

I extend a warm welcome to both of them and thank them for giving up their time to assist.
Serve your community - volunteers required

Are you a retiree or have a job but with some spare time available and would like to help the community? If the answer is "Yes" then we are pleased to hear from you.

We realise that there are many readers of this newsletter who have a diverse range of experience and skills and would like the opportunity to put this to good use.

Safe Communities, has expanded considerably over the last year and there are increasing demands being placed on our services. This is likely to continue for the forese eable future, and as such we have to plan ahead to cope with this.

There are a number of areas where Safe Communities requires voluntary part time assistance and these are listed as follows:
  • Translation work, particularly English - Portuguese and Portuguese to English, English to French as well as other languages.
  • Conversation in foreign language - in other words dealing with some enquiries
  • Marketing
  • Helping with seminars
  • Technical assistance with social media

If you are able to help then the community benefits. Please therefore contact us if you can lend assistance in anyway. Just click the following and let us have you contact details. we will get right back to you.



Crime Prevention

Holiday villa letting fraud 

We have received reports locally of possible fraud where holiday makers have booked villas for letting but the villas either do not exist or are not available to let. These cases, and others are being investigated by police.

When booking your holiday, apart from the usual research you undertaken it is important to make a number of checks that the company you are booking through is reliable.

In particular  take care when payments are to be sent to a foreign bank account. If asked to send by Western Union or telegraphic transfer be suspicious. Check where the account is located. A number of fraud cases have involved Spanish bank accounts, whereas the holiday booking has nothing to do with that country. If possible pay by UK credit card which offers protection under Sec 75 of is now covered by PayPal Buyer Protection.

If your email address in the past has been compromised, it is important to ensure that your password is changed. Several frauds involve emails being hacked.

To reduce the risks of this type of fraud happening to you, please download our advice here.

Crime prevention advice beaches and car parks

There are many people now using the fantastic beaches that Portugal has to offer, some of the best in the world.

However, there are of course those who take the advantage of this to commit crime, mainly thefts from hire cars and other opportunist crime such as stealing goods that have been left unattended. Nearly all of this type of crime is preventable.

Such thefts, especially when passports and credit cards are concerned, can have a serious impact on a holiday so it is best to take simple crime prevention advice. 

We have a comprehensive "Stay Safe" crime prevention series and the following two in particular are very useful in reducing the risk of becoming a victim of these sorts of crime.

Download here our guides on Driving and Car parks and Beaches.

Civil Protection and Public Safety advice

Facebook "Safety Check" - Activated for Madeira

On Wednesday 10th August Facebook activated, a "security centre" due to " uncontrollable fire in Funchal." This function allows people to determine whether the users present in the area of disaster are well and safe. 

The option of "Safety Check" was launched by Facebook in 2014 and is used by millions of people in severe cases, whether natural disasters or terrorist attacks. 
This is the first time that Portugal has adopted this, but it was activated because of the major fires in Madeira.

Anyone who wants to use this service, just have to follow this link and ensure that your friends or family have been marked as safe. If so desired, the user can also announce to your friends that you are safe and well.


Practical things we can do to help prevent forest fires

We have given repeated advice concerning this subject in our newsletters, on Facebook and on our website. I would like to emphasise the following steps we can all take during the critical fire period from now until 30th September or at other times when the fire risk is extreme or very high:
  • Refrain from smoking in rural areas, meaning bush and forest areas as it is illegal to do so and you may start a fire,
  • Do not attempt to clean your land through burning,
  • Refrain from lighting BBQs in rural areas except where designated, or for instance in your terrace (where there are no bushes)
  • Do not use metal bladed strimmers to cut grass.
  • Do not discard glass bottles, by road sides in fields etc
If you are out in the countryside and you see someone smoking in a field or along a foot path, they are putting themselves and your life at risk. You can ask them to immediately refrain or call 112. Please also look out for anyone acting suspiciously, for instance a drunk person carrying a petrol can or again smoking.

This may sound extreme but the risk is considerable and the consequences even higher.

Precautions during heat waves  

Although this was published last month, I think it is worth repeating especially with the higher than normal temperatures experienced in the last few weeks, which are forecast to continue.Having just had the hottest day so far it is an opportune time to remind us all concerning the subject of heat waves.

The need to take precautions from heat waves illustrates the extreme weather conditions that we can experience in Portugal; snow. high winds, and heavy rainfall to long periods of sunshine when temperature can exceed 40C.

In the case of heat waves such as that seen in 2015, it is important that precautions are taken especially in respect of the elderly and those who are more vulnerable. As early as May last year in Beja a temperature of   40C was recorded breaking the previous record for that month of    39.5C four years ago.  Last week in Tomar, temperatures rose to 42.8 C and that is in the shade! 

Care has to be taken in such heat to avoid dehydration or even worse. The Director General of Health has issued guidelines to help avoid health issues during high temperatures and these can be downloaded from the Safe Communities Portugal website in English   here.

Cybercrime and Computer Security 

Phishing attach in the name of Windows

Watch out for this fishing attack where attacker is trying to get access to your computer and all the information on it. Just delete without reply or clicking on any links.  The senders address is Help Desk <joan23 (at) patronatjoan23.org> Note poor grammar and email address which are the main indicators that this is a scam. 

Subject - "Help Desk
Scheduled Maintenance & Upgrade

Your account is in the process of being upgraded to a newest Windows-based servers and an enhanced online email interface inline with internet infrastructure Maintenance. The new servers will provide better anti-spam and anti-virus functions, along with IMAP Support for mobile devices to enhance your usage.

To ensure that your account is not disrupted but active during and after this upgrade, you are required to kindly confirm your account by stating the details below:
* Domain\user name:
* Password:
This will prompt the upgrade of your account.

Failure to acknowledge the receipt of this notification, might result to a temporary deactivation of your account from our database. Your account shall remain active upon your confirmation of your login details.

During this maintenance window, there may be periods of interruption to email services.  This will include sending and receiving email in Outlook, on webmail, and on mobile devices. Also, if you leave your Mailbox open during the maintenance period, you may be prompted to close and reopen.

We appreciate your patience as this maintenance is performed and we do apologize for any inconveniences caused.

Customer Care Team
Overseas News

PSP crackdown on taxi malpractices in Macau

If you are travelling to Macau please be aware of the following.

The Public Security Police Force (PSP) have carried out operations to combat taxi malpractices with the Transport Bureau (DSAT) from January to July in order to safeguard the interests of citizens and tourists. As a result, overcharging and refusing hire (1743 cases in total) constituted a large proportion (around 71%) of the overall number of prosecutions (2454).

The PSP will continue to work with relevant authorities to combat taxi malpractices, to ensure the rights and safety of citizens and tourists and uphold Macao's tourism image.

Should the industry, citizens and tourists discover the above-mentioned violations, please play an active role by contactin the Traffic Department of the PSP at 2837 4214, the DSAT at 8866 6363 or contact relevant departments via email at psp-info@fsm.gov.mo or info@dsat.gov.mo and provide information for further follow-up.

New poll highlights prevalence of bullying and its devastating impact on young people.

Two out of three young people from 18 countries say they have been victims of 'bullying' and nine in ten believe that this is a widespread problem in their communities, reveals a survey conducted by UNICEF released on 12th August.

On the occasion of International Youth Day, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) published this recent survey, conducted by U-Report digital platform.

the U-Report is "a tool that has had a huge impact on young people, to promote their participation in matters that concern them, and that has more than two million users in over 20 countries", reads the UN specialised agency's statement.
Young people were surveyed by SMS , Facebook and Twitter on the impact of 'bullying' in their communities, about their personal experience of the phenomenon and what they think can be done to stop this kind of violence.

According to the report of UNICEF, more than 100,000 U-Reporters who participated in the survey were young people between 13 and 30 years in the following countries: Senegal, Mexico, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mozambique, Ukraine, Chile, Malaysia, Nigeria, . Swaziland, Pakistan, Ireland, Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, Indonesia and Zambia.

This poll U-Report also concluded that " a third of respondents think that being a victim of 'bullying' is normal, so do not tell anyone. The majority of respondents who reported suffering from 'bullying' said that this had happened because of their physical appearance. The 'bullying' was also assigned to gender and ethnicity or sexual orientation, and a quarter of victims said they did not know who to tell.

More than eight out of 10 respondents believe that awareness, in particular through the training of teachers on how to help children feel more at ease to report cases of 'bullying', is one way of responding to this problem in schools" , the study reveals.
UK - Online child sex abuse investigation identifies 523 potential victims - 30 million images seized

More than 500 children have been identified as potential victims of online sexual abuse during a major investigation by Police Scotland. The force said 30 million indecent images were seized and 77 people had been charged during Operation Lattise.

The charges include rape, sharing indecent images of children and grooming for sexual purposes. Of the 523 potential victims, some as young as three, 122 have been referred to child protection services.

The operation, which involved 134 separate investigations, was carried out between the 6 June and 15 July.

Police said child victims had been found after the homes of 83 suspects were searched and 547 computers and other devices seized during the five-week operation.
'Horrific acts'

Almost 400 charges have been brought so far, including rape, sharing indecent images of children, grooming for sexual purposes, sexual extortion, indecent communication with children, possession of a firearm, bestiality and drugs offences.

In one instance, a computer that featured 10 million images depicting child abuse was found. Police Scotland said it would take four full-time officers six months just to view the number of images uncovered.

The investigation involved officers analysing in excess of 100,000 online chat logs.
Examination of one device led officers to conclude that one adult suspect had been sexually communicating with more than 110 children and young people.

Det Insp Andy McWilliam, who was also involved in the investigation, said that new technology meant there was no way for perpetrators to hide or erase what they had done online.
He said: "Whether they throw the computer in the bath or not, we can find what they have looked at. And we can use covert technology to identify who you are and where you are.
Europol, Spain and Poland dismantle international drug trafficking group

Europol has coordinated a joint investigation by the Spanish National Police (UDYCO Costa del Sol) and the Polish Police (Polish Central Bureau of Investigation) to dismantle a criminal group involved in drugs smuggling.

The gang, which was operating in Costa del Sol (Spain), was largely known by the Polish Police for having committed serious crimes in Poland. The investigation, which took place over three different phases, also saw the participation of the Danish and French Police.

In total, 23 individuals were arrested (12 Polish, 7 Spanish, 2 Ukrainians, 1 Lithuanian and 1 German), and over one tonne of hashish was seized. The involved law enforcement authorities have also seized properties in Spain and Poland worth EUR 2 million, bank accounts and vehicles with an approximate value of EUR 137 000, together with EUR 45 000 in cash, firearms and documentation.

The arrested persons belonged to a criminal group named ''PRUSZKOW' dedicated to drugs smuggling and other serious crimes such as murder, extortion and kidnapping. This criminal group was partially dismantled in Poland at the end of the 1990s and its members charged with 12-15 years of imprisonment.

During a coordinated action carried out by the Spanish and Polish Police on 12 July 2016, with the support of Europol, 7 houses were searched in Spain and 6 in Poland simultaneously. As a result, the criminal organisation was completely taken down and assets of EUR 5 million were seized in both countries. The Spanish authorities seized more than EUR 30 000 and USD 2 100 in cash, together with 4 luxury vehicles, small amounts of marihuana and hashish, a shotgun, IT material, documentation, geolocation devices, and other evidential materials. 

Meanwhile, the Polish authorities seized notarised documents of various properties worth EUR 1. 4 million and different notarial and bank documents related to properties, bank transfers and shares. Firearms and ammunition were also seized . .

How you can help - Donation for crime prevention in the Algarve

Each week Safe Communities Algarve provides advice and assistance to those who have contacted the association. No charge is made for this service. If you have benefited from this then why not make a small donation in return. 


Safe Communities Algarve is a non-profit association run by unpaid volunteers. Our services are free of charge and the association is funded by donations. Your generosity by making a donation to help maintain and further develop the work of the association and thereby help keep the Algarve a safe place to live and visit would be appreciated. Any amount helps.  

Three ways to make a donation


Paypal - If you would like to make a donation through Paypal please visit our Welcome page and click on the "donate" button. 

By cheque - If you wish to donate by cheque the bank account name is "Associacao SCP Safe Communities Portugal" and cheques can be posted to Caixa 207-Z, Alfontes, Boliqueime, 8100-062, Algarve.

By interbank transfer - If you wish to donate through inter bank transfer please use the same name with the following account details NIB 0033 0000 4542 9864 44705. 

All donations should be marked "Donation for crime prevention". Thank you.

Safe Communities Portugal - Regular Features
Just a reminder that in addition to our website and Facebook page, Safe Communities Portugal produces regular crime prevention features to help the community. These are  in the Algarve Resident where there is a full page feature in the first issue each month. The next feature will be out on 1st September 2016.

We also have a 5 minute feature named "Crimecheck" on Owen Gee's Solid Gold Sunday which is aired at 0920 hrs on the last Sunday of each month. The next one is scheduled for Sunday 27th August 2016.

How your friends can obtain up to date Crime Prevention advice
Please pass on details of Safe Communities Algarve to neighbours and friends so they to can benefit from the up to date crime prevention advice. Simply ask them to click on the following link to obtain the latest newsletter: www.safecommunitiesalgarve.com This is a free service.



David Thomas

Safe Communities Portugal



17 August 2016