21 December 2018
In the lead up to Christmas, I wish this newsletter was filled with some good news, but unfortunately there are a number of events that for many will mean a sad end to the year.
Firstly, of course, is the terrible news of the INEM helicopter crash in which four people lost their lives; two very nasty attacks on the elderly in their homes in the centre of Portugal, one in which a lady aged 80 lost her life and another in which a 96 year old lady was injured.
Other tragic news is the report that so far there has been a significant increase in the number of deaths on the roads in the Algarve. See our report.
However, at least some better news is that as of this morning Gatwick airpoirt is open to limited flights following the suspension of flights on Wednesday due to drones over flying the airport, This now appears to have been a deliberate act to cause disruption at one of the busiest times of the year. The suspension of flights resulted in some 110,000 people being affected by this highly thoughtless and illegal action.
Some excellent news, is that the Emergency ID card which we launched last month has proved very popular with some excellent feedback, received by INEM, the GNT, PSP and Safe Communities.. It is now being promoted by various Embassies, Turismo de Portugal and other entities. In case you missed this last month, the card is means of assisting the emergency services provide life assistance should you have an accident and could for instance be
It provides IMMEDIATE information concerning any d
may have, your allergies and medication. It is free of charge, in Portuguese and English and can be downloaded from the websites on INEM, GNR, PSP and Safe Communities Portugal.
Since the last newsletter I visited ABTA the Association of British Tour operators and Turismo de Portugal in London and had two very fruitful meetings. Some of the details are in our next newsletter.
In addition our new program "Program Connect" in which members of the public meet with the GNR, PSP and Bombeiros together in an informal setting is working well. My thanks to Colin Scarisbrick for driving this forward - please see the report in this newsletter.
So yes that has been some sad news at the end of the year, but I also hope some that there is some positive and good news as well. Let's hope for more of the latter in 2019.
All of us at Safe Communities Portugal Wish you and Your Families a Very Happy and Sfe New Year.
Safe Communities Portugal
Preliminary report on the INEM helicopter accident investigation process
Following the accident with the INEM helicopter on December 15, which killed four people, the National Civil Protection Authority (ANPC) has presented the preliminary report of the investigation process determined by the Minister of Internal Administration.
According to the preliminary report the response time following the accident last Saturday, may have been compromised by delays in communication by NAV and 112.
According to the document, both NAV Portugal and the Operational Center of Norte - 112 (CONOR) did not make contact with the coordination centre of the Portuguese Air Force "with the necessary timing, and this could have compromised the response time of the search response and rescue"
The report published today (18th December 2018) by the ANPC emphasizes that this was "an absolutely exceptional occurrence". The report points to several flaws in the way the various authorities reacted to the accident that resulted in the death of the four occupants.
From the outset, NAV Portugal for 20 minutes, from 19.20 to 19.40 hours, developed its own procedures, "to the detriment of compliance with the provisions of the National Operational Directive." The report also points the finger at CONOR (112) who, "after contacting citizens, did not warn the CDOS of Porto, giving preference to the dispatch of means of the security forces and did not initiate proceedings with the ANPC to restrict the search area ".
It concludes that "contact with the Rescue Coordination Centre of the Portuguese Air Force to identify a possible accident with an aircraft, both by NAV Portugal and CONOR (112) was not carried out with the necessary timing and could have compromised the response time of the search and rescue means ".
The preliminary report of the ANPC also stresses that the weather conditions and the terrain were determining factors regarding the carrying out of searches.
Meanwhile a preliminary assessment of the wreckage so far indicates that the aircraft crash occurred following a collision with a broadcasting antenna in the area," a note sent to Lusa, by the Office for the Prevention and Investigation of Accidents with Aircraft and Railroad Accidents (GPIAAF) revealed.
"This collision may have been caused by a number of possible causes, which can be duly clarified only after all necessary information has been gathered and in the course of further investigation."
Public who took pieces of the helicopter may have harmed investigation
According to the air accident investigations office, the public who removed pieces of the INEM helicopter that crashed on Saturday in Valongo municipality, causing four deaths, "may have hampered the investigation."
A media report earlier stated that "On Sunday morning, many of those who were there took the opportunity to photograph the scene of the accident and even had some of the wreckage of the helicopter, which they proudly displayed". "There are lots of bits on the ground," said Paulo (full name removed) standing next to his quad bike. Beside him, his friend (name removed) removed the helicopter's fuel tank cap from the backpack, found near the emitting antenna with which it collided".
Since Sunday, when a team from the Office of Aircraft Accident Prevention and Investigation (GPIAAF) initiated the expertise and data collection on the spot, those responsible were visible in television reports, in newspapers and in the media online, showing them taking pieces of debris from the scene.
"If they were taken [pieces of the wreck] while the perimeter was established, i.e. on day 16 [Sunday], it could have hampered the investigation." If it was later, all relevant wreckage had already been recorded and collected by investigators, which in this case does not, "explains the GPIAAF, in a written response sent today to the Lusa agency.
The wreckage was scattered over the mountain range where the helicopter crashed for several hundred yards. The GPIAAF recalls that this action, in addition to being able to call into question the investigation, such removal is prohibited by law.
Not only is this against the law it is a disrespectful action given the tragic situation. As such Safe Communities Portugal ha formally written to the PSP asking the an investigation be conducted into what appears to be the crime of "theft".
Brexit - Safety and Security
To help keep people informed of the issues in Brexit that involve the safety and security of citizens in the UK and how this affects Europe, Safe Communities will be keeping our readers up to date concerning what has been agreed between the UK and Europe, but as we are all aware not yet been put before parliament.
There are two main documents; the
Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union which comprises 585 pages and the 26 page Draft Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom, agreed at negotiators' level and agreed in principle at political level, subject to endorsement by Leaders.
It is very important that people understand that the security of a country, its residents and those visiting is not just dependent on the number of police officers, how they are deployed etc, but what goes on behind the scenes. This means the sharing of data between countries, the process of sharing investigations and the efficient means of bringing culprits to justice through international binding arrest warrants.
Without these measures in place and faced with crimes of an international dimension, such as cybercrime and money laundering, Europe as a whole would be a less safer place.
Although not a legally binding document, I will start this series by outlining the main provisions of the Draft Political agreement:
- With a view to Europe's security and the safety of their respective citizens, the Parties should establish a broad, comprehensive and balanced security partnership. This partnership will take into account geographic proximity and evolving threats, including serious international crime, terrorism, cyber-attacks, disinformation campaigns, hybrid threats, the erosion of the rules-based international order and the resurgence of state based threats.
Law Enforcement and Judicial Co-operation Criminal Matters
- The future relationship will provide for comprehensive, close, balanced and reciprocal law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, with the view to delivering strong operational capabilities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection and prosecution of criminal offences, taking into account the geographic proximity, shared and evolving threats the Parties face, the mutual benefits to the safety and security of their citizens, and the fact that the United Kingdom will be a non-Schengen third country that does not provide for the free movement of persons.
Read full Draft Political Agreement here
Secretary of State for Civil Protection outlines the proposed changes to the organic law concerning civil protection
After the opposition demonstrated by the Portuguese Firemen's League in relation to the proposed changes in the Organic Law regarding of civil protection in Portugal approved by the Council of Ministers, but yet to be enacted into law, Bombeiros.pt interviewed the Secretary of State for Civil Protection to help clarify the position.
One major demand is that Firefighters want not only their own autonomy (separate from the ANPC), but their own budget as well which, in their view, will ensure "an increase in operational ability and performance, and a reduction in costs".
During the last month in protest against what they claim is that their views are not being taken into account by Government, firefighters have withheld operational data from District CDOS ANPC, except for the Algarve.
The Secretary of State for Civil Protection has explained to Bombeiros PT what the proposed changes mean to provide some reassurances.
In summary some of the main points and changes outlined by him are:
- The leading cadres of ANEPC (renamed from ANPC) will be recruited by public competition, with the exception of the President of the Authority, the National Commander and the 2nd National Commander
- All other officers, including Regional and Sub-Regional Operational Commanders, shall be admitted by competition. We intend with this decision to end the chronic substitutions upon a change of Government, where some "because they do not have an adequate profile" and others "because they did not have the political orientation of the Government" have left.
- The amendment with the addition of "E" (from the ANPC nomenclature to ANEPC) emphasises the Emergency because, due to climate change, all the guidelines that have been given to us at European and global level are intended to raise the level of prevention of Civil Protection. We have to have emergency civilian planning for extreme catastrophe situations. And we do not.
- Portugal is one of the few countries that does not have properly developed civil emergency planning. If we had a "Hurricane Leslie" on a country wide scale, we would be in a very complex crisis situation, with incidences in the areas of communications, energy, communication, access to health facilities, among others.
- In response to a question regarding the creation of a separate structure of firefighters parallel to ANEPC, the Secretary of State this was not possible as it would return to a situation that existed many years ago and did not work.
Yellow vests - Planned demonstration fails to gather pace (0900 hrs)
There is a strong police presence across the country due to protests scheduled for today Friday 21st December. However, almost an hour after the planned start the mobilisation there were few demonstrators.
The north entrances to Braga, at the roundabout of the Infias, are blocked by more than fifty yellow vests since 06:00, with some altercations already registered with motorists who tried to pass, but these were not serious.
According to Lusa news agency, more than 50 yellow vests kicked and threw bottles at vehicles that tried to break through the blockade.
Despite the blocking, there is a "on-track safety route" for the passage of emergency vehicles.
In Lisbon, PSP spokesman Alexandre Coimbra told Lusa about 06:30 that "everything was still calm". So far there are no complications in the places where the demonstrations were planned.
At the 25 de Abril bridge, there is a strong presence of the PSP, but no yellow vests on the spot.
In the Marques de Pombal, in Lisbon, there are about 30 people. The police are now moving traffic through the side streets.
Near the toll of the A8, protesters passed by, honking and displaying their yellow vests
In the Francos Node, in Porto, the yellow vests tried to blockade a roundabout but the standstill lasted only a few minutes and the 50 or so "yellow vests" were moved on by police peacefully.
The elements of this event have a French flag and are standing on the crosswalk, causing some traffic in this area. Some of BES's victims are also being joined by this movement, showing their discontent with corruption.
The protests of the "yellow vests" in Portugal were called by various groups through social networks, inspired by the recent protest movements in France.
Read more on latest update here
Gatwick airport resumes flights following suspension of flights due to drones.
Gatwick airport reopened to flights this morning Friday 21st December following the suspension of flights on Wednesday, due to drones over flying the airport.
The seemingly deliberate nature of the disruption is likely to spark fears it is a coordinated attack on Britain's second-busiest airport.
Flights in and out of the airport were suspended at about 2100 hrs on Wednesday after two drones were sighted near the airfield. The last drone was seen at 2200 hrs on Thursday night.
Sussex Police said it was not terror-related but a "deliberate act" of disruption, using "industrial specification" drones. The army have been deployed to assist police.
About 110,000 passengers on 760 flights were due to fly on Thursday were affected. Airport officials stated on Friday that they aim to arrange the departure of over flights today..
The airport's chief operating officer Chris Woodroofe admitted it could take days to recover services.
Sussex police are trying to track those responsible using technology and have stated that they are now better prepared to deal with the situation should any drones re-emerge.. An Assistant Chief Constable stated this morning that any action that endangers aircraft can result in life imprisonment if convicted.
The laws in Portugal concerning the use of drones near airports is likewise strict carry a custodial sentence
Theft of the Glock semi-automatic weapons from PSP: Four suspects arrested including two policemen
Criminal association, embezzlement and arms trafficking are the crimes in question. The investigation, led by the Central Department of Investigation and Criminal Action (DCIAP), is in charge of the Division of Criminal Investigation of the Metropolitan Command of Lisbon of the PSP
Since dawn yesterday, searches are underway in various parts of the country - a total of 14 household searches and four non-household searches in Vila Nova de Gaia, Gondomar, Mafra. Abrantes, Cascais, Oeiras, Lisbon, Almada and Albufeira. About 150 PSP agents are involved in the operation.
Four arrest warrants have been issued against two civilians and two PSP agents. One of them is one of those suspected of involvement in the theft of Tancos, already detained by the Judicial Police on Monday, as part of the operation related to the robbery of the Tancos warehouses. This suspect was remanded in custody after questioning tonight.
The two policemen worked in the warehouse, at the headquarters of the PSP, in Lisbon, where the weapons were stored. Soon after the theft was detected in January 2017, they were suspended and subject to disciplinary proceedings. They returned to the service - placed in administrative services and without the right to a weapon - to await the outcome of the criminal investigation.
The investigation, headed by the Central Department of Investigation and Criminal Action (DCIAP) - coordinated by the same prosecutors of the Tancos case - is in charge of the Division of Criminal Investigation of the Metropolitan Command of Lisbon.
The investigation lasted 23 months, when the police seized one of these guns in Porto from a drug dealer, at which time the theft was detected.
Eight of the 57 weapons were, however, recovered, four in Portugal, in PSP operations and four in Spain (three in Andalusia and one in Ceuta).
Brexit: No visa but Britons will pay €7 to travel to EU countries
The European Commission has confirmed that while UK travellers will not need a visa, they will need to apply for and buy another document.
It is called an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System), a completely electronic system which allows and keeps track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Zone. In a way, it resembles the U.S Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which serves a similar purpose. The legal procedures to pass the ETIAS started in 2016, and the system is expected to be in place by 2021.
The ETIAS will undergo a detailed security check of each applicant to determine whether they can be allowed to enter any Schengen Zone country. Since citizens of countries who do not need a visa for travel purposes of up to 90 days in the EU do not need to go through a long process of applying for the visa, the ETIAS will make sure that these people are not a security threat. This travel authorization system will gather, keep track of, and update necessary information regarding visitors to determine whether it is safe for them to enter Schengen countries.
The travel requirement is not just for the UK but for many non-EU countries.
Citizens of EU countries - which currently includes British people - are able to travel anywhere in the EU.
But anyone from a non-EU country has to apply for a visa - unless they are from a special list of 61 countries, which also includes the US, Japan and Australia.
Safe Communities Portugal will shortly meet with SEF regarding the implementation of this for UK visitors to Portugal.
Foreigner detained for crimes against Asian Tourists
The Metropolitan Command of Lisbon of the PSP, through the Division of Criminal Investigation, on December 12, 2018, at 00.05 hrs, in the parish of Santa Maria Maior, in Lisbon, arrested one man, a foreigner, aged 32 years suspected of committing the crime of Theft, Computer Crime, Illegal Immigration, Document Falsification and False Declarations.
A variety of crimes against tourists of Asian origin, most of them women, were carried out by the man who chose victims, mainly unaccompanied tourists, essentially in the Baixa of Lisbon.
He approached and spoke to them and after inducing them to consume alcohol and other substances, and whilst they were under the influence, the culprit was able to access the victim's credit cards.
After several investigations, it was possible to arrest him whilst caught in the act after withdrawals with a credit card from one of the victims, with whom he accompanied to nightlife establishments. After theft of the credit card, taking advantage of the fact that the victim was under the influence of alcohol, he made withdrawals of 4750 Euros of the account of the victim.
After a house search was conducted, the following items were seized: 10 doses of Cocaine; 5465 Euros in cash: 13 victim credit cards; Photographic Machines; one jacket and a shoulder bag, clothing that usually was used in carrying out the crimes.
The suspect, who resisted his detention, possessed a document of a foreign citizen. Through various steps, more specifically in coordination with the SEF, it is concluded that the document was counterfeit raising doubts as to his true identity.
The criminal activity of the suspect in Portugal extends over the last two months where he amassed about 30,000 Euros, in at least 8 identical situations.
Information was surfaced that he has already served a prison sentence in Spain where he carried out the same activity criminal. There are also reports of sexual abuse of victims, facts that only the investigation can confirm. In the course of the Domiciliary Search, it was possible to identify a 26-year-old woman who was involved in one of the eight situations mentioned.
He has appeared for the 1st Judicial Interrogation with an application to be remanded in custody.
GNR arrests drug trafficking trio in Albufeira and Boliqueime
Three men between the ages of 39 and 45 were detained by the GNR for drug trafficking in Albufeira and Boliqueime. In the operation, carried out by the Centre of Criminal Investigation of Albufeira, about 700 doses of cocaine, heroin and hashish were seized.
In a note sent to the newsrooms, the GNR says that "as part of an investigation by the Portimão Department of Investigation and Criminal Action, which had been in effect since the beginning of the year, a police operation was carried out in the municipalities of Albufeira and Loulé,
Two persons were arrested in compliance with arrest warrants, with a third suspect arrested in possession of a narcotic product '.
In the operation, house searches were also carried out that led to the seizure of 346 doses of cocaine, 334 doses of heroin, 22 doses of hashish, eight mobile phones and 740 euros in cash.
In addition to the arrests, the GNR identified two men, aged 20 and 28, as defendants, for drug purchases.
The detainees, already with criminal records for drug trafficking, will be present this Thursday to the Judicial Court of Portimão.
In this operation were committed 50 soldiers of the Territorial Command of Faro and the Intervention Unit.
Safe Communities Portugal
Program Connect is an innovative process of engaging with the emergency service partners who undertake to work collaboratively with Safe Communities Portugal. Traditionally it is the role of the citizens of a district to make contact in a variety of formats, typically telephone, internet, visiting designated premises or through unexpected contact due to normal operating procedures of the authorities concerned.
Connect seeks to enhance the end user experience by bringing the established methods closer to the communities.
To achieve this the authorities concerned on a specified date and time venture away from the established premises they currently operate in and utilise a venue, which is located within the heart of a community. This has numerous advantages:
- Easier access for users
- Prominence of emergency services
- Relaxed and informative communications can take place.
- Removal of professional and authoritarian barriers.
- Public engagement increases, raising trust levels, and reducing crimes and other incidences.
- Clear and concise information able to be disseminated more readily.
- Engagement of foreign and domestic residents and visitors.
Initially six venues have been designated, each within the operational commands of the district of Leiria.
Each event was held on a Wednesday between 15.00 and 16.00hours. The days and times were selected purposely. The areas were: Alfeizerao, Peniche, Caldas Da Rainha and Alcobaca.
Those who attended were pleased with the opportunity to discuss matters informally with the law enforcement and civil protection authorities and felt it benefited them.
Future events are planned for Nazare January 23rd 2019; Obidos 6th February 2019 and Alcobaca 20th February 2019. Details will appear in this newsletter, website and Facebook.
96-year-old woman assaulted and robbed in her home in Valado dos Frades, in Nazaré
On 25th November the woman aged 96 years, who was bedridden and unable to leave, was surprised by a thief, who took advantage of the key being in the door of the room, to enter her house.
The culprit punched the lady in the left eye, and with a lighter set fire to the ends of the duvet and blanket, and threatened to set the bed on fire and burn it.
However the daughter of the victim and her son-in-law, who live in the house next door and who were going to change a light bulb, arrived and confronted the suspect. A neighbour alerted the GNR, whose barracks are 400 meters away, and military officers from the Valado dos Frades and São Martinho do Porto posts responded to the incident.
While the assailant was detained the elderly lady was taken with slight injuries to the hospital in Alcobaça and then to the University Hospitals of Coimbra for examination. She returned home, but was traumatized by the incident, said officials who provide home support.
The 48-year-old assailant, who lives in the same locality, has criminal records for petty theft and robbery, and was sentenced to four years suspended for pimping, was arrested. He is now in custody, after having appeared for first judicial interrogation on the 27th November, in Leiria.
He is accused of committing a crime of aggravated robbery, in the manner attempted, and of four crimes of aggravated threats.
A terrible crime again an elderly and vulnerable person. if it had not been for the timely arrival of relatives it could have been a lot worse. One hopes, if found guilty, that he receives a long custodial sentence.
Elderly woman killed in Foz Côa during house robbery
Unfortunately the previous article is not an isolated incident.
An 80-year-old woman was killed and her husband was injured during an alleged robbery that occurred overnight in a town in the municipality of Vila Nova de Foz Côa in the Guarda district.
According to GNR source, the alert for what happened in the village of Horta, Vila Nova de Foz Côa, was given around midnight.
The alleged robbery inside the couple's residence resulted in the woman's death, while her 80-year-old husband was injured and was transported to the Sousa Martins Hospital in Guarda for treatment, the source told Lusa news agency.
The GNR of Vila Nova de Foz Côa, which belongs to the Territorial Command of the Guard, initially took account of the occurrence, but the investigation passed to the Judiciary Police.
Social-Democratic deputy in the Madeiran parliament caught drink driving - shots fired during car chase.
During a routine traffic control operation mounted on one of the accesses to the city of Funchal, on the dawn of Sunday, December 2, a car driven by the 39-year-old Social Democrat deputy, serving his first term in the Madeiran parliament, was ordered to stop by a PSP transit brigade agent, but allegedly ignored the order. Reported by PSP 12th December.
Instead of stopping, Luís Miguel Calaça allegedly accelerated and drove off, almost striking a police officer, who fired two warning shots into the air.
The deputy finally intercepted later in the morning, after a police chase in downtown Funchal, where PSP reinforcements were deployed. Detained and taken to the police station, he was later released with a term of identity and residence.
In addition to the crime of driving under the influence of alcohol (a blood alcohol level of 1.87 g / l was recorded), there is a crime of disobedience to a police order and another of attempted injury of the police officer.
In a statement Luís Miguel Calaça, stated he was "fully available to collaborate with the justice system".