The Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police and the Head of the BBC will be questioned by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on 2nd September 2014.

In the meantime both have responded to initial questions put to them by the Committees Chairman the Rt Hon Keith Vaz. Following receipt of the letters he has reportedly said that the replies ” raise even more questions”.

A copy of the letter from the Chief Constable of the South Yorkshire Police can be found here.

Following the letter I sent to the Chairman Home Affairs Committee on 17th August I have also sent a list of questions which I feel should be asked.



On Wednesday 20th August 2014 one person was killed and another seriously injured following a dispute in a bar in the Avenida sa Carneiro (The Strip) Albufeira.

The person who died was a bouncer employed by the bar who was stabbed with a knife and the perpetrator was seriously injured. The incident occurred at about 3:00 a.m., when the bouncer intervened on a disagreement between an employee and a group of customers, of Portuguese nationality resident in Greater Lisbon.

The clash was interrupted by the intervention unit of GNR. Two ambulances arrived at the scene and despite efforts by the crew of Emergency Resuscitation and Ambulance Basic Life Support INEM the bouncer later died. The perpetrator is in hospital in Lisbon. The Judicial Police are investigating the incident.

Reports in the Correira da Manha dated 22nd August suggest that the perpetrator had been banned from the bar 3 days beforehand and had returned to seek revenge.


Legality of Search warrant should be questioned

I am sure that everyone was shocked to learn about an allegation against Sir Cliff Richard and the search of a property owned by him in the UK. However in my professional judgement more troubling is the fact that the search was televised live resulting in it becoming media headlines and the subject of social media gossip and speculation worldwide. Whatever happens from here Sir Cliff’s reputation has been seriously damaged.

Sir Cliff is a very high profile figure now facing extraordinarily sensitive allegations, and even before being interviewed the police have allowed the search of his home to become a media event. Reportedly to compound matters he only learned about this after it appeared on television! Remember, no one has been arrested or charged by the police in connection with this investigation, let alone tried and convicted. Unless he is convicted, he must be presumed innocent.

In accordance with the provisions of Section B of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, (PACE)  “The right to privacy and respect for personal property are key principles of the Human Rights Act. Powers of entry, search and seizure should be fully and clearly justified before use because they may significantly interfere with the occupier’s privacy. Officers should consider if the necessary objectives can be met by less intrusive means”. It goes on that the “Powers to search and seize must be used fairly, responsibly, with respect for people who occupy premises being searched”

To my mind there are serious questions for the police to answer as to whether some of these conditions were in fact followed. Clearly “privacy” is a key issue and we now understand, that despite earlier denials by the Police, it appears that the media were in fact tipped of as a BBC producer is reported to have heard that the raid was going to happen, and phoned South Yorkshire Police, who confirmed the information was correct; the reasoning for disclosure being that they considered it “protected the integrity of the investigation”. This confirmation enabled the BBC to arrange for a news crew to be at the property in readiness for the police arriving. The BBC was also able to run an interview with a uniformed South Yorkshire officer, standing outside the force’s Sheffield headquarters, within moments of the raid starting.

In the granting of a search warrant by the courts, any information that might undermine any of the grounds of the application must be included in the application for the search, or the court’s authority for the search may be ineffective. In my opinion if the police were aware of the BBC’s knowledge of the investigation at this stage, this should have been stated. If however the police disclosure to the media about the search took place after the search warrant was approved by the court, it begs the question as to whether the court was subsequently informed of this of this development. If the court was unaware of this the legality of the search warrant could be in question.

If a claim is brought against the police for the way in which a warrant was obtained or executed, the consequence can be long, drawn out and costly litigation. Police forces risk paying out compensation for trespass to property, breach of Article 8 (PACE) and malicious procurement of a search warrant.

From my 30 years police experience and having conducted numerous investigations and search operations under the provisions of PACE, the accepted practice of the police is not to identify those who have been arrested, let alone those who are merely fall within the scope of what the police have described in this case “as being at a very early stage of investigation”.  This is also the guideline published by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

The Leveson Report, covering the relationship between press and the police recently stated:

“I think that it should be made abundantly clear that save in exceptional and clearly identified circumstances (for example, where there may be an immediate risk to the public), the names or identifying details of those who are arrested or suspected of a crime should not be released to the press nor the public”.

South Yorkshire Police, who are conducting the investigation into the allegations involving Cliff Richard, may have the added task of explaining to Cliff and his lawyers why he was afforded no such privacy.  Unless they have a good explanation, there may be serious consequences not least in the civil courts.  Because while Cliff Richard is innocent in the eyes of the law, the verdict in the eyes of the baying public is being pronounced every second; just view social media and Twitter and you will see what I mean.

It is hard to see how the advance disclosure could “protect the integrity of the investigation” as claimed by the police, unless as has been reported they were being pressured by the BBC in that the corporation was about to publish details of the investigation. If this had been done ahead of the search, the operation could have been compromised.  The police decision to disclose details however has far broader implications, has certainly damaged the integrity of the investigation and possibly violated Sir Cliff’s human rights.

I have written a letter to the Chairman of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee as clearly there are some very important questions to answer. Amongst these is whether there was breach of guidelines in the release of the information; whether pressure was placed on the police by the BBC for them to televise the search; whether such pressure had any influence on the timing of the search itself and the nature and full extent of the collaboration between the Police and BBC concerning the investigation. These are very serious matters. A copy of this letter can be found here.

It is a criminal offence under the Penal code to disclose details on an ongoing police investigation.


David Thomas

Former Assistant Commissioner

Hong Kong Police


At 0326 hrs 0n 20th  August 2014 a Night Guard in Lagos detected two youngsters to make a graffiti at a Renault display wall located at Rua Dom Vasco da Gama, Lagos. The night Guard contacted the PSP who together approached the suspects seizing two cans of spray paint. They were also found to have made graffiti across the road including doors and windows of shops and a car.

By 05:00 and at a time when the PSP and Night Guard checked the extent of damage, they caught in the act and in the same area, two other young people also making graffiti.

It was reported by the Night Guard service that that the four young men are friends and they are on holiday in Portugal.



On 19th August 0340 hrs the GNR Intervention Public Order Unit on patrol in Albufeira detained a person aged 29 years for possession of a prohibited weapon.

The action followed a report made to the GNR patrol that there was a person in a nightclub establishment in possession of a firearm. The patrol went to the location concerned and apprehended the person who was found to have a 9mm pistol, a charger and five rounds of 9 mm ammunition.

Following this approach, the individual was identified and it was established that he had no licence for this weapon. He was then arrested and the weapon and ammunition seized.

The detainee was arrested earlier this year for the same offence. The detainee, who lives in the municipality of Tavira area, will appear in court for application of remand/reporting conditions.


On 19th August it was reported that the Judicial Police Department of Criminal Investigation in Portimão have arrested a man aged 42 years for the murder of an elderly resident in the area of São Bartolomeu de Messines.The crime occurred on 15th August in the interior of a dwelling, when the arrested person hit k the victim and stabbed him several times which caused his death.

The detainee, the victim’s son, hid his body after committing the crime and tried to mislead the authorities by reporting the disappearance of his elderly parent.

The defendant, 42, will appear in the court for application of remand conditions.


At  01.00 hrs on 19th August 2014, a Night Guard in Faro was patrolling in the area of Largo do Como when he became  suspicious of a man carrying a cement bag which appeared to originate from Rua de Alportel in Faro where there is work in progress.

The Night Guard contacted the PSP and approached the person to enable the police to verify where the cement bag originated from.

The man was arrested by PSP for being in possession of narcotics and having confessed to the theft of the bag of cement.


“Na madrugada de hoje e pelas 01:00, um Guarda-Nocturno de Faro desconfiou de um casal que se dirigia para o Largo do Carmo, pelo facto de o homem levar consigo um saco de cimento, sendo que da rua de onde vinham, Rua de Alportel, existe uma obra a decorrer.

O Guarda-Nocturno contactou com a PSP e abordou o casal de modo a permitir a esta força de segurança verificar a proveniência da saco de cimento.

O Individuo acabou detido pela PSP por se encontrar na posse de estupefacientes, tendo confessado o furto do saco de cimento.”




The Judicial Police South area have identified and detained at Faro international airport a man aged 23 years carrying two kilograms of cocaine concealed in the framework of two suitcases.

The person was travelling from a South American country to Faro and the drug was intended for the European market.   He will  appear before the judicial authorities for application of remand conditions.


ALGECIRAS, Spain – In an INTERPOL-supported operation in Spain targeting the trafficking of stolen vehicles, nearly 20 vehicles were recovered and some 15 individuals arrested. 

Led by the Spanish National Police, Operation Paso del Estrecho (which means ‘crossing the straits’), was conducted from 28 July to 1 August at the port of Algeciras in southern Spain, a known route used by organized criminal networks to smuggle cars stolen from throughout Europe into North Africa.

With the assistance of INTERPOL’s Stolen Motor Vehicles (SMV) unit, police monitored car ferries leaving the port en route to Morocco, with some 5,000 vehicles screened against INTERPOL’s SMV database.

INTERPOL coordinated the deployment of 28 experts from seven countries to support the operation. The experts are members of the INTERPOL Stolen Motor Vehicles (SMV) Task Force, comprising police and private investigators who support member countries with operations targeting the theft and trafficking of motor vehicles.

The INTERPOL SMV database contains more than 7 million records submitted by 128 member countries. In 2013, countries searched the database more than 125 million times, resulting in 117,000 positive hits.

“Operation Paso del Estrecho was very important because it allowed us not only to detect and recover stolen vehicles from Spain and other European countries, but also to obtain crucial information that will allow us to continue our investigations into the organized crime groups dedicated to illegal vehicle trafficking,” said Ángel Arroyo Morales, Head of the vehicle crime investigation unit of the Spanish National Police Central Squad of Organized Crime.

“There is no doubt that with strong cooperation between INTERPOL and police across Europe and beyond, we will continue to recover even more stolen vehicles before they can be used for criminal purposes,” he concluded.

In addition, 15 people were arrested during the operation, including one Ukrainian and two Spanish nationals arrested in connection with a major investigation of the Central Squad of Organized Crime of the Spanish National Police. They are suspected of being the masterminds behind a vast trafficking ring transporting stolen luxury cars between Spain and Ukraine, via Poland and Moldova.

The stolen vehicles seized came from various European countries including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden, demonstrating the transnational character of this crime.

“The trafficking of stolen vehicles is a crime that knows no borders. The only way to effectively combat the organized criminal networks behind this crime is therefore through coordinated joint actions, as evidenced by this successful operation,” said INTERPOL’s Director of Specialized Crime and Analysis, Glyn Lewis.

Operation Paso del Estrecho is an annual initiative conducted by Spanish police in Algeciras – a major gateway between Europe and Africa which sees approximately 4.8 million people and 1.3 million vehicles pass through each year – to prevent stolen vehicles from leaving the country and to identify and disrupt the criminal groups responsible for the illicit trafficking.

Highlighting the links between organized crime and the trafficking of stolen motor vehicles – which are often used in the commission of other serious crimes – is a key part of INTERPOL’s global Turn Back Crime campaign.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of these hidden links, and of the very real effect these crimes can have on people’s daily lives.


The PSP Police will be conducting speed check radar operations in the Algarve on the following dates, times and locations during the month of August

12-ago-14 -09H00 -Avª Castro Marim – Vila Real Santo António
13-ago-14 -21H00 -EN 125 Km 102.8 sentido Norte-Sul – Faro
20-ago-14 -09H00 -Avª Fonte Coberta – Lagos
20-ago-14 -15H00 -Avª D. João V – Olhão
25-ago-14 -08H00 -Rotunda do Oceano Atlântico – Portimão