Archive for September, 2015

Dealing with Intruders and the use of Force

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

The Vilamoura burglary case raises an important question on how each of us would deal with an intruder in our home. The issue of “having a go” if you found a burglar in your home currently being debated in the media and social media, is an impossible one for a person to reasonably answer, simply because we do not know how we would react under stress and every situation is different. Whereas reading this now we have the luxury of time in thinking things through, if under imminent attack we may not have time to make entirely rational decisions.

Fortunately this a very rare case and with the burglary levels at their lowest for some years the chances of this taking place are slim. In Vilamoura the burglar was the one that paid the ultimate price, but it could have been the other way around, with the occupants being seriously injured, leading to death.

This is why dealing with an intruder in your home is so important, because how we respond in a very stressful and potentially dangerous situation, can determine the outcome.

Two years ago Safe Communities Algarve researched this matter and after consultation with local police, produced a document entitled “Guideline in discovering and dealing with intruders in your home”. It covers actions to take in different scenarios, for instance a) You arrive home and think there is a burglar inside your house, b) You are at home and suspect there is a prowler in your grounds, c) You wake up at night and suspect there is an intruder in your home or, d) You come face to face with an intruder in your home.

The guide also covers the issue of the use of “reasonable” force which is defined in Articles 32 and 33 of the Portuguese Penal Code.

Article 32 Legitimate defence states “An act constitutes legitimate defence when committed as the necessary means to repel a present and unlawful aggression on legally protected interests of the agent or of a third party”. Article 33 Excess of Legitimate Defence states “1- If there is excess of the means employed in legitimate defence, the act is unlawful but punishment may be especially mitigated. 2- The agent is not punished if the excess results from non-censurable disturbance, fear or shock.”

There are many factors to consider when assessing whether the use of force is reasonable or excessive, including the level of imminent danger posed.

The full guide can be downloaded from www.safecommunitiesalgarve.com/crime-prevention-advice/personal-safety/

I emphasize that this is a general guide which is aimed at protecting you and your loved ones. Specific incidents may vary, but being aware of the general principles in handling instances such as this, could reduce the chances of the situation escalating. Forewarned is forearmed.

Remember – “You can replace your possessions but not your life!

GNR Operation Verão Seguro

Saturday, September 26th, 2015

From 1st June to 15th September the GNR arrested more than 10747 persons for various offences, an average of over 100 persons per day.

Included in this figure are 3645 for drink driving which is an increase of 248 compared to the same period last year. A total of 1329 were arrested for driving without a licence up 73.

A total of 117 died in road accidents a decrease of 10 compared to last year, although serious injuries were up by 59 to 576. A total of 7586 were slightly injured up by 231.

During the period 786 weapons were confiscated including 351 firearms. A total of 4548 vehicles were seized as well as 364, 834 Euros in cash.

GNR – Operation Safe Summer Results

Monday, September 21st, 2015

From 1st June to 15th September the GNR carried out its Operation “Safe Summer”, though intensified patrols, support and supervision throughout 90% of the country, which is their area of responsibility. The emphasis was aimed at combatting in particular violent crime and those crimes compromising safety.

During this period the GNR registered:

  • 3645 people for driving under the influence alcohol (equal to / greater than 1.20 g / l);
  • 1329 people for lack of legal authorization to drive;
  • 499 for drug trafficking;
  • 175 for theft;
  • 173 for possession of prohibited weapons;
  • 30 for causing bodily harm.

Seizures included:

  • 786 guns (351 of which were genuine);
  • 11 998 rounds of ammunition of various calibre;
  • 4548 vehicles;
  • 364 834 euros in cash.

With regard to road side checks during the period of operation, and compared to the same period of 2014, the following is highlighted:

  • A reduction in fatalities – less 10.
  • An increase in the number of road crimes, with more drivers detected driving with a blood alcohol equal / greater than 1.20 g / l and without legal authorization to drive.
  • An increase in offenses, particularly the failure to use restraint systems and driving under the influence of alcohol.

The GNR has monitored over the years, the trends concerning road casualties, and identified the three main causes responsible for serious accidents (deaths and serious injuries), namely:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol (1 in 3 drivers killed in accidents of road driving with an illegal blood alcohol rate),
  • Speeding and
  • Failure to use restraint systems.

As a result of this knowledge, the GNR has directed its prevention and enforcement actions to focus on these matters thus likely account in the increase in registered offences.

Under the general policing, security was guaranteed at several musical shows (festivals and raves). During action taken at these events more than 10,000 drug doses were seized. Festivals held in the districts of Santarém and Portalegre were events where more drugs were detected.

The PSP added that of the 4,000 plus residences that had requested police surveillance during the period their owners were absent on holiday, there was not a single break-in.

The PSP also reported that its “I’m Here” Programme, which involves tagging children under the age of nine so that parents may locate them, should they stray on the beach for example, was applied to over 50,000 children with the project’s success resulting in its continuity.

 

Judicial Police arrest person for starting three fires

Monday, September 21st, 2015

It was reported on 19th September that the Judicial Police had arrested a 42 year old man for causing three fires in forest areas between 10th – 12th September 2015. This resulted in the destruction of bushes and pine trees covering an area of 43,000 square meters in the district of Viseu.

The man started the fires by lighting candles with a cigarette lighter and then informed villagers who in turn informed the GNR. His aim was to watch the emergency response units dealing with the fires!

So far this year the Judicial Police have identified 49 people responsible for illegally starting fires.

 

 

Lisbon – PSP Agent stabbed whilst arresting a Pickpocket

Monday, September 21st, 2015

It was reported on 20th September that a PSP Agent was stabbed by a pickpocket at the Rua Nova da Trinidade, Lisbon whilst the agent, who was on patrol, was attempting to intercept him.

The assailant is Romanian and aged 29 years.  The PSP agent received medical attention by INEM suffering a cut to his elbow. The pickpocket was eventually subdued and was found to be in possession of two wallets belonging to a French and American tourists. He was arrested for resisting arrest and assault.

 

ASAE seizes nine tons of meat and fish

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

On 19th September the Food Safety and Economic Authority (ASAE) announced the seizure of nine tons of meat and fish frozen during a national enforcement action involving the inspection of 1325 vehicles.

“Operation Circle”, was held on Friday and aimed to “check the freight conditions in vehicles (food and non-food) along the main access roads to major urban centers, industrial and markets suppliers, “said the ASAE in a statement.

According to ASAE, authorities they found lack of hygiene irregularities in transport, concerning the climate control, product labelling and documentation of the goods.

During the action, developed in collaboration with the PSP and GNR over 1500 tons of various products (meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, bakery and pastry products, beverages, textiles and footwear, construction products between others) were inspected.

Following the inspection, the ASAE seized about nine tons of  fresh meat, frozen meat products and frozen fish products and filed 17 administrative offences for infractions.

The main offences detected were “the failure of the general and specific requirements of hygiene, lack of vehicle conditions for the transport of food and the lack of metrological control of temperature recording equipment,” said ASAE.

The operation took place in about 50 locations in the districts of Lisbon, Porto, Braga, Viana do Castelo, Mirandela, Coimbra, Viseu, Aveiro, Leiria, Castelo Branco, Guarda, Santarém, Évora, Beja, Faro and Albufeira.

During the surveillance operation ASAE also initiated a criminal proceeding for contempt, as they detected goods from an unauthorized warehouse (prior surveillance target of ASAE).  In addition, the vehicle did not have cold conditions for transportation of food products .

GNR finds an arsenal of nearly 100 weapons in Ansiães in Bragança

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

On 18th September the GNR discovered an arsenal with nearly a hundred guns, thousands of rounds of ammunition and other materials during a house search, which took place in the village of Carrazeda de Ansiães in Bragança district.

The finding, in Pinhal locality of the Douro, “surprised” the military when they conducted the search warrants as ordered by a court into an investigation of the 79 year old owner. The individual is being investigated on suspicion of threatening people with a firearm and assaulting neighbours and domestic violence against his wife.

Despite the investigation for the crime of domestic violence, the couple continues to live together, and the man is not subject to any measure of coercion. The GNR seized almost a hundred guns, including hunting weapons, pistols, guns and air rifles. There also seized about five thousand ammunition of various calibres, five knives, various materials for reloading cartridges, gunpowder and other items.

According to the GNR, the individual has no professional activity related to arms. The authorities are also trying to ascertain for what purpose the suspect had in his possession such a large number of weapons.

Aveiro – Six Drug Traffickers held in detention

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

Six of the 23 defendants arrested by the GNR of Aveiro on 14th and 15th September suspected of belonging to a drug trafficking network have been placed under detention by order of a court. The first judicial interrogation of the detainees began in Wednesday, the Criminal Chamber of Aveiro, and ended this Friday 18th September at around 21:00.

The criminal instruction judge ordered the arrest and detention for six men. The remaining defendants are subject to periodic visits to the police. The suspects are charged with conspiracy crimes, drug trafficking and possession of a prohibited weapon.

The arrests occurred during house searches carried out as part of an investigation which took place over the last few months. During the operation, 3,292 individual doses of hashish, 554 individual doses of cocaine as well as” significant quantities” of hashish pollen, cannabis, MDMA and ‘speed’ were seized. The GNR also seized large amounts of cash, mobile phones, several motor vehicles and a firearm.

Judicial Police issue over criminal activities known as “SEXTORTION”

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

The Judicial Police has issued a warning of the significant increase in complaints of invasion of privacy and extortion associated with the use of social networking sites.

These situations, which the police term as “Sextortion”, occur when users, adults or minors, use a social network to share intimate photos or videos of themselves including sexual activities with others. In doing so, the senders subsequently become victims of extortion, through demands of large amounts of money to avoid their pictures or videos being further exposed to others.

Victims pay 100, 200, 500 euros, so that images are not released to their friends and family. Criminals are hidden in fake social networking profiles in accounts registered abroad. A crime that is increasing in Portugal.

The Judicial Police, have issued an appeal stating that “In the last three to four months there was a significant increase in cases. In Lisbon alone there were 50 new complaints. We are investigating, but it is not a crime easy to unravel”, Carlos Goatherd, coordinator of the section of computer crimes of the Judicial Police told the Correio da Manha.

The victims – including men and some minors – turn out to be hostage to ‘Sextortion’ name (which joins sex with extortion) given to phenomenon. It’s just that if they decide to pay, the chances are the victim is asked for more money.

“It all starts on social networks, where it gains the trust of the victims. After end up making a video link in less own situations. These images are then used in blackmail,” said the head of the PJ, which is said concerned about the phenomenon. “It’s a crime not only originating in Portugal but also from abroad. Therefore, international cooperation is very important. It is a crime with many features and that often comes from countries where cooperation is very limited”.

This type of transnational crime has an erosive effect on public confidence in the INTERNET network structures and is highly devastating in terms of psychological effects on the victims. The Judicial Police warning and calls for:

  • Steps to prohibit the use of social networks involving the intimate and sexual exposure of its users;
  • Greater awareness of the effects such activities may have on personal and professional life as well as the effects in terms of extortion and humiliation;
  • The use of these new forms of communication have minimum age for use and that minors should be advised of the consequences of their misuse.

The Judicial Police is continuing its research in order to ascertain the nature and extent of criminal connections concerning these activities.

 

Joint operation of the Judicial Police and Spanish Police results in the arrest of 15 persons and seizure of 1.9 tons of cocaine.

Sunday, September 13th, 2015

It was reported on 10th September that the Judicial Police, through the National Unit for the Fight against Drug Trafficking (UNCTE), in close coordination with the National Cuerpo Police in Spain, have conducted a joint investigation that led to the location and interception of a fishing boat north of the islands of Farizhoes in Portuguese territory, carrying 1.9 tons cocaine to a Galician criminal organization.

The location and interception of the vessel was undertaken with the support of Air Force and the Portuguese Navy. During the operation five crew members were arrested including four nationals and a foreigner. The drugs are estimated to have a value of around $64 milliion.

Following this intervention of the Judicial Police, the Spanish authorities conducted a police operation in Galicia, Asturias and Madrid, and detained ten men belonging to the above mentioned criminal organization. During the operation eleven searches were conducted and the fishing boat carrying cocaine, a speedboat, about seventy thousand euros in cash, fifty 9 mm cartridges and various telecommunications equipment were seized.

A coordinated research between the Portuguese and Spanish authorities has resulted in the allowed dismantling of one of the most important Galician criminal organizations, which had close ties to Colombian organizations dedicated to the importation of large quantities of cocaine into the Iberian Peninsula in order to supply illegal markets in Europe.

The fifteen detainees, aged between 25 and 75 years, have appeared before the relevant authority, with an application that 12 are remanded in prison custody and the other three under house arrest.

The operation took place on 20th August 2015 but has only just been reported. In the context of combating this type of transnational crime, the Judicial Police have seized in the last three months more than 5 tons of cocaine, four vessels and have detained 27 suspects, which is an important contribution in the context of the global fight against international drug trafficking.