Archive for June, 2015

SEF – Smart Borders: A project with a future

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

The pilot tests of the European Project ‘Smart Borders’ ended 4th June at Lisbon’s Airport.Portugal was the first Country of Europe who tested an innovative program for entry and departures of Schengen Area.

The Immigration and Borders Service, who manages the Smart Borders Project at national level in cooperation with the eu-LISA agency, will received at Lisbon’s Airport the visit of representatives from thirteen Member States, including Latvia (as EU presidency), European Commission, eu-LISA Agency and General Secretariat of the Council, with the purpose of collecting information regarding the results of the Smart Borders Project.

The tests conducted at the Lisbon’s air border ended on this date, yet they will start in other Member States’ borders, hence this is a moment of share of knowledge, challenges and final results, given that Portugal was the starting point – on March 15 – of the entire European project.

This project aims at finding the best human and technological solutions for the implementation of a system for controlling the borders’ entries and exits, in Europe, of Third-country citizens, named Entry Exit System (EES). Apart from this, the European Union also wishes to test the viability of the project Registered Traveller Programme (RTP) which will allow border crossing through electronic borders to Third-country nationals, duly registered as frequent flyers.

Electronic borders (Automated Border Control (ABC) eGates) were up to this date only used by European citizens over 18-years old. During the testing period, Third-country citizens, in a set of 20 countries, were able to promote the use of their electronic passport and use these devices to exit from the country.

With SEF’s management and the support of ANA/VINCI and Vision-Box®, Portugal conducted at Lisbon’s Airport, three types of tests, not simultaneous, where in addition to the use of electronic borders to exit the country were also tested, at the international arrivals area, the possibility of collection of biometric identifiers (iris, facial image and fingerprints) by using specific kiosks.

We now face ever-changing realities and one of the purposes of this project will be the examination of numbers and facts collected from the several experiences as regards the passenger point of view – foreign citizen, and also the Border Officer point of view, who has the duty to harmonise the need for a swift border control with both national and EU security.

Therefore, Portugal was a pioneer in the implementation of the Smart Borders Project and, as such, will provide a decisive contribution to final conclusions that will be presented to the European institution

Portuguese Government approves a National Strategy for Combatting Terrorism

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Major changes to Terrorism Laws

The National Strategy for Combating Terrorism represents a mobilization of commitment, coordination and cooperation of all national structures, with direct and indirect responsibility in the fight against this threat,” said the Minister of Internal Affairs, Anabela Rodrigues, at the press conference after the meeting of the Council of Ministers decided that its adoption, where was also present the Minister of Justice, Paula Teixeira da Cruz.

Adding that “the cooperation between the armed forces and security forces and services is deepened in view of the objectives defined in the Strategy”, the Minister listed the structuring its five pillars:

  • Sense – is the early identification of action potential terrorist threats, through the acquisition of essential knowledge for effective combat;
  • Prevent – is to understand and identify the causes that determine the appearance of processes of radicalization, recruitment and terrorist acts;
  • Protect – is to strengthen the security of the priority targets, reducing both their vulnerability, whether the impact of potential terrorist threats;
  • Chase – is the action to dismantle or neutralize terrorist initiatives designed or running, and their support networks, preventing the movement and communications and access to finance and usable materials in the terrorist attacks and submit events to the action of justice; and
  • Reply – is the operational management of all means to be used in response to terrorist incidents. Responsiveness to limit the consequences of a terrorist act, whether the human level, both in terms of infrastructure.

Under this strategy, the anti-terrorism coordination unit will have the increased powers and is responsible for the coordination and the actions arising from the continued plans.

In order to adjust existing legislation to the Strategy, the Council of Ministers also approved eight bills. The Minister of Justice said that these proposals change:

  • The Criminal Procedure Code, updating the definition of terrorism;
  • The Nationality Law, densificando the requirements for the granting of nationality by naturalization and for opposing the granting of Portuguese nationality;
  • The law establishes the legal regime of covert actions for prevention and criminal investigation;
  • The law establishing measures to combat organized, economic and financial crime, to cover all criminal offenses related to terrorism;
  • The law to combat terrorism, criminalizing public apology for the crime of terrorism and membership of terrorist organizations;
  • The legal system of entry, stay, exit and removal of foreigners from national territory;
  • The Organization Law of Criminal Investigation, to cover all criminal offenses related to terrorism; and
  • The Internal Security Act, adding skills to the composition of the Higher Internal Security Council and strengthening the organization’s Anti-Terrorist Coordination Unit.

On 22 June 2015 Portugal has amended its Nationality Act by Organic Law 8/2015. Under the amended law, the Public Prosecutor may oppose to a nationality acquisition by marriage or other family relations, if the person who wants to acquire the Portuguese nationality represents a threat to the national security or is involved in terrorist activities. The same applies to acquisition of citizenship via naturalisation where, until now, one could not acquire the Portuguese citizenship if the person was convicted for having especially serious criminal offence. Under the revised law, a person does not acquire the Portuguese citizenship either if he or she represents a threat to the national security or is involved in terrorist activities.

These amendment were adopted by Portugal following the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks and the involvement of Portuguese jihadists in IS, as part of a national strategy to combat terrorism.

PSP agent in Critical Condition following assault by a gang

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015
On 27th June it was reported that Fernando Bandera aged 48 years serving with the PSP was brutally attacked whilst carrying out his work at a music festival at Vale da Amoreira, Moita, just south of Lisbon.

The agent was involved in a crowd management operation at the time but reportedly became seperated from his colleagues. A number of men then attacked the agent throwing stones at him and stabbing him three times. A number of people helped save the agent by preventing further attack.

Two persons have been arrested in connection with the attack and the firearm recovered. It is likely that others will be arrested shortly.

Colleagues report that the agent may have been recognized by gang members as he had undertaken anti drug trafficking operations in the area.

Seminar Challenges in Combating Trafficking in Human Beings

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015
Seminar Challenges in Combating Trafficking in Human Beings

Organized by the CIG – Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality / Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the OTSH – Observatory on Trafficking in Human Beings / General Secretariat of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, with the support of the Judicial Police, the seminar was held on 25th and 26th June.

This seminar materialized two initiatives at once: on the one hand, the holding of an international conference on trafficking in persons and the new challenges that arise within the EU provided for in the Third National Plan for Prevention and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and secondly, the organization of a final conference in the European project “Towards a Pan-European Monitoring System on Trafficking in Human Beings’, coordinated by the General Secretariat of the Ministry of Internal Affairs MAI / OTSH.

SEF – Provisional detention of suspects of citizenship Fraud

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

The Criminal Court of Lisbon declared provisional detention for the three suspects detained by the Immigration and Borders Service on June 2nd in the police operation «Livro Mágico» [“Magic Book”]. This operation dismantled a criminal network which ensured – through fraudulent means and in exchange for large amounts of money – the acquisition of Portuguese citizenship to foreign citizens allegedly born in the former Portuguese territories in India.

Fraud used in the acquisition of Portuguese citizenship:

  1. The procedure for citizenship acquisition starts with false documents (supposedly) certified by Indian Authorities through «Hague Apostille», a formality used for the international certification of documents.
  2. Certified documents (birth certificates or passports) are delivered in the Central Registry Office [Conservatória dos Registos Centrais] of Lisbon, together with the application for acquisition of Portuguese citizenship.
  3. Once the citizen acquires Portuguese citizenship, identity cards [cartão de cidadão] and passports are requested at the Portuguese diplomatic representations or in national territory.
  4. The identity cards enable these new Portuguese citizens to travel to other countries, such as the United Kingdom, United States of America and Canada, where they take up residence.
  5. Given that these citizens do not take up residence in Portugal nor have any family or social tie with the Country, this “phenomenon” does not have visibility in national territory, and for that reason it stays off the radar of national authorities.
  6. Portuguese citizenship has also been requested posthumously, i.e. the children of alleged citizens born before 1961 in the former Portuguese territories in India request Portuguese citizenship for their deceased parents, based in documents with no credibility and from which all the descendants also become Portuguese. There are also some doubts regarding the feasibility of documents submitted by those alleged “children of deceased citizens”.
  7. There were also several situations of children of the same mother with only two and three months age difference who have obtained Portuguese citizenship.
  8. Once the citizenship is acquired, the new “Portuguese citizens” marry with third-country nationals, resulting in the legalisation of the spouse in national territory and acquisition of Portuguese citizenship after three years. The members of the criminal organisation who ensured the acquisition of Portuguese nationality by fraudulent means acted in exchange for large amounts of money. Those residing in Portugal and those who maintained convenience residence also receive social benefits, such as income support allowance [rendimento social de inserção], unemployment or family benefits

 

SEF – Smart Borders: a project with a Future

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

The pilot tests of the European Project ‘Smart Borders’ ended on 4th June at Lisbon’s Airport. Portugal was the first Country in Europe who tested this innovative program for entry and departures of Schengen Area.

The Immigration and Borders Service, who manages the Smart Borders Project at national level in cooperation with the eu-LISA agency, will received at Lisbon’s Airport the visit of representatives from thirteen Member States, including Latvia (as EU presidency), European Commission, eu-LISA Agency and General Secretariat of the Council, with the purpose of collecting information regarding the results of the Smart Borders Project.

The tests conducted at the Lisbon’s air border although ended, will start in other Member States’ borders, hence this is a moment of share of knowledge, challenges and final results, given that Portugal was the starting point – on March 15 – of the entire European project.

This project aims at finding the best human and technological solutions for the implementation of a system for controlling the borders’ entries and exits, in Europe, of Third-country citizens, named Entry Exit System (EES). Apart from this, the European Union also wishes to test the viability of the project Registered Traveller Programme (RTP) which will allow border crossing through electronic borders to Third-country nationals, duly registered as frequent flyers.

Electronic borders (Automated Border Control (ABC) eGates) were up to this date only used by European citizens over 18-years old. During the testing period, third-country citizens, in a set of 20 countries, were able to promote the use of their electronic passport and use these devices to exit from the country.

With SEF’s management and the support of ANA/VINCI and Vision-Box®, Portugal conducted at Lisbon’s Airport, three types of tests, not simultaneous, where in addition to the use of electronic borders to exit the country were also tested, at the international arrivals area, the possibility of collection of biometric identifiers (iris, facial image and fingerprints) by using specific kiosks.

We now face ever-changing realities and one of the purposes of this project will be the examination of numbers and facts collected from the several experiences as regards the passenger point of view – foreign citizen, and also the Border Officer point of view, who has the duty to harmonise the need for a swift border control with both national and EU security.

Therefore, Portugal was a pioneer in the implementation of the Smart Borders Project and, as such, will provide a decisive contribution to final conclusions that will be presented to the European institution.

 

533 Reports of Ticket Fraud relating to Gigs, Concerts and Sporting Events received

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

Action Fraud UK has reported that so far in June they have received 533 reports of ticket fraud relating to gigs, concerts and sporting events.

Of the 533 reports, 228 mentioned a company called Circle Tickets which has recently ceased trading online. Circle Tickets was advertising tickets for Taylor Swift, Fleetwood Mac and Ed Sheeran. The 228 reports are with the  UK’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau for analysis and assessment.

Statistics from NFIB show that 33% of crime reports related to ticket fraud in 2014 happened in the months May, June and July. This is largely due to the number of UK festivals and high-profile concerts taking place during these months.

Get Safe Online has recently joined forces with the NFIB and Gumtree to warn you to be careful of ticket fraud at this time of year.

Get Safe Online recommend the following tips to make sure you protect yourself

  • Buy tickets only from the venue box office, promoter, official agent or reputable ticket exchange sites.
  • Remember that paying by credit card offers greater protection than with other methods in terms of fraud, guarantees and non-delivery.
  • Double check all details of your ticket purchase before confirming payment.
  • Do not reply to unsolicited emails from sellers you don’t recognise.
  • Before entering payment card details on a website, ensure that the link is secure, in three ways:

    1. There should be a padlock symbol in the browser window frame, which appears when you attempt to log in or register. Be sure that the padlock is not on the page itself … this will probably indicate a fraudulent site.
    2. The web address should begin with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.
    3. If using the latest version of your browser, the address bar or the name of the site owner will turn green.

    Further protection advice

    • Ensure any third-party payment services (such as WorldPay) are secure before you make your payment.
    • Safeguard and remember the password you have chosen for the extra verification services used on some websites, such as Verified by Visa.
    • In the event that you choose to buy tickets from an individual (for example on eBay), never transfer the money directly into their bank account but use a secure payment site such as PayPal, where money is transferred between two electronic accounts.
    • Check sellers’ privacy policy and returns policy.
    • Always log out of sites into which you have logged in or registered details. Simply closing your browser is not enough to ensure privacy.

Person to be prosecuted for making false allegations of corruption against GNR on Facebook

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

The case originates when a woman who parked on a yellow line in Fuseta in the Eastern Algarve reserved for loading and unloading, was issued a €30 fine which she paid.

When she returned to the spot a little later the woman saw an empty GNR car parked in the same place on the marked yellow zone. She then spotted the same two agents that had booked her having a light breakfast in a nearby cafe.

The woman took some photos in order to ‘show the corruption in this country’ saying the GNR should be setting an example to others, not flouting the laws for which she had just been fined. She added that they are all corrupt.

The GNR have stated that their agents were in the café trying to identify the driver of a goods vehicle which was parked in a disabled space.

Since this appeared on Facebook, local media have reported this as the person is being prosecuted for complaining against the GNR on Facebook and this has understandable caused much concern.

“Safe Communities Algarve have raised this case with the GNR at a senior level, who have explained that the only reason why the woman is being prosecuted, is for” defamation” by making a false accusation of corruption, which is a serious crime. Under Portuguese law making such false accusations against a person or an organization is illegal. Clearly her language is the issue here.

They added that the fact that she is complaining on Facebook is NOT the reason she is being prosecuted nor does it matter that she took photos of the GNR car. If she had complained but had not made the corruption allegation, I have been assured no action would have been taken.

The GNR receive negative comments and complaints from people on their Facebook page and these are not removed. But there are limits beyond which if you make unproven serious accusations in public then the person concerned will have to bear the consequences.

Unfortunately it is often the case in Facebook that people write without thinking through the consequences, or in the heat of the moment, which may well have been the case here”.

Judicial Police arrest three persons for drug trafficking across Spanish Border

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

The Judicial Police, have detained a man and two women strongly suspected of drug trafficking over several years, particularly between the Spanish town of Ciudad Rodrigo and Vilar Formoso across the border area.

The Police seized various items relevant to the  criminal activity, as well as some traces of drugs. The investigation has revealed that the group were responsible for importing drugs with weekly sales of more than 500 individual doses of narcotics of various kinds.

The detainees all aged 27 years will now be present to the appropriate judicial authorities, for the first interrogation and application of enforcement measures pending trial. In developing some of the respective operations the Judicial Police collaborated with the GNR Canine Unit.

Portugal’s First National Crime Prevention Website launched

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015
With the support of Portugal’s law enforcement agencies, we are pleased to announce the launch, on 4th June 2015, of the first national crime prevention website in Portugal. This builds upon the success of the association’s Safe Communities Algarve’s (SCA) website, which was original launched in November 2011, and is now visited in 26 countries and in May received 230,000 hits and 1700 daily page visits.

The design of the site undertaken by Claire Kellock, started in November 2014, as it became apparent that the demand for SCA’s services had extended beyond the Algarve. In fact enquiries are regularly received from overseas from people who have visited Portugal as those planning to move or invest here. Following discussions with the national police authorities in Lisbon, it was therefore decided to embark on a new site with some of the input being provided by them.

The new SCP site follows the same basic design of the SCA site but incorporates some new important features.

Given the large increase in the number of cybercrime enquiries it was decided to launch a cybercrime section divided into a number of pages, including a Cyber security alert page. This page is updated daily where necessary and shows samples of threats and attacks that people have received in Portugal and have brought to our attention as well as global attacks that may affect the country. We are grateful to Jim Litchko, a computer security analyst for his expert help in creating this facility.

Another new feature is a “For tourist” page. Although Portugal is one of the safest places to visit in Europe, it is important it remains so. Crime prevention tips are in seven languages at present and it is hoped to include Russian shortly.

We have also added a section on safety advice for children named “Keeping Kids Safe”, as well as the most comprehensive emergency contacts and hot-line contacts list available. The latter includes “click-through” contacts to the main support organizations in Portugal dealing with health, safety, and social services.

Following discussions, with the Economic and Food Safety Authority (ASAE) they are also featured in the police section on the website together with the GNR, PSP, SEF and the Judicial Police. We are grateful for the assistance and input received from these organizations.

The civil protection area on the website has been expanded from that available on the SCA site with a particular focus on forest fire prevention, given the risk this poses in many parts of the country.

With over 70 crime prevention downloads, it is hoped that the new site will help further enhance awareness of crime prevention, public safety and cyber security within all communities, supplementing the work of the various law enforcement agencies.