Archive for March, 2016

GNR to be deployed in Operation FRONTEX “Poseidon 2016,” in Kos Island – Greece

Monday, March 28th, 2016

The GNR will be participating in the operation of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX), from 1st April to 30th September 2016.

Their Coastal Control Unit (CCU) will be deploying 16 military personnel and a speedboat to carryout surveillance off the Greek island of Kos, in order to help prevent , detect and stop the  illegal immigration, human trafficking and drug trafficking and to help safeguard human lives at sea.

In 2015 the unit was similarly deployed and recorded the following results: 3067 illegal immigrants detected; 1265 persons rescued; 3 800 nautical miles travelled. UCC is the specialized unit with specific skills in surveillance, patrolling and land or sea interception along the coast and territorial mainland at sea and at the Autonomous Regions. It is responsible, also to manage and operate the Integrated Surveillance, Command and Control (SIVICC), which undertakes control of the whole Portuguese coastline.

Distraction theft – Coffee shop/restaurant terraces

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

There appears to be a new method that thieves are using to steal goods on the terraces of cafes in various areas in the country. Basically the method involves the thief using a subtle approach targeting people who are drinking coffee or during meals (even in places where there are many people).

The thief comes close to the person holding an A4 sheet of paper in his hand and places it near to a wallet or mobile phone the potential target for theft has placed on the table. The thief distracts the victim by drawing his/her attention to the contents of the document normally items for sale. In doing so the document covers the mobile phone.

Usually the response is for the victim to say “no”. The thief then lifts the document from the table together with the mobile phone underneath, without the victim immediately noticing.

Thereafter, the thief walks away and, after a few seconds, after being out of reach of the victim escapes by running away.

This usually takes place in some of the bigger cities, but it can happen anywhere at a cafe or restaurant.

There is also another method used in shopping centres, which are normally the busiest spaces. Basically thieves acting in groups of two people. The first one makes an approach to the victim sitting at a table in order to distract him/her and capture their attention for a few seconds. At that moment, a second person approaches the table and removes belongings of value that maybe on the table. This only takes a few seconds but because the victim is looking elsewhere and is distracted he/she does not immediately notice the theft.

Advice

It is important not to display valuable items on tables of cafes, especially those on terraces close to roads because they are possible targets.

Lisbon Metropolitan PSP Celebrates its 149th Anniversary

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

On 10 and 11th March 2016, the PSP Metropolitan Command of Lisbon proudly celebrated its 149th Anniversary with a number of events held in the Municipality of Odivelas and at the PSP Higher Superior Institute in Lisbon. Safe Communities Portugal was privileged to attend these events.

Having attended probably hundreds of these types of events in my police career, these can be very similar, but certainly not so in this case – this was different and very effective.

The celebrations started with a concert performed by the 70 member Symphonic Band of the PSP.  In front of a full capacity of around 700 people at the Multipurpose Pavilion in Odivelas, the concert included works by internationally renowned composers. The second part of the concert was performed by guest performer André Sardet together with the band, with titles well known to the general public. The whole event provided great music which was well acknowledged by several standing ovations – a fantastic evening.

On 11 March, the Monastery of São Dinis and São Bernardo, built in 13th century, in Odivelas was the venue for a mass to honour those PSP agents in PSP Lisbon who have given their lives on duty. This was followed by a ceremony in the grounds of the Monastery which was inspected by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Constance Sousa Urban.

This was followed by what can best be described as a unique ceremony which took place in a beautiful tiled assembly room in the Monastery. One usually expects many speeches, but this started with a magician followed by a brilliant choir who sang “Hallelujah”. This was probably the best rendition of that song I have heard live, especially with the acoustics only that sort of building oh this age can bring.

There were then the speeches including an very informative and professional presentation by Jorge Mauricio Commander of the Metropolitan police (previously Commander PSP Faro District), plus those from Presidente da Câmara Municipal de Odivelas, Hugo Martins, the National Director of PSP, Luis Farinha, and Minister of Interior Constance Sousa Urban.

Towards the end decorations were given to PSP officers and agents of the Public Security Police – in the areas of Distinguished Service, long service and Exemplar Behaviour. The ceremony ended by a very moving and emotive, audial and visual tribute by the Metropolitan Command Lisbon, to those agents killed in the line of duty, to the music of Amazing Grace beautifully sung by the choir. To finish the event the choir sang the Beatles hit “Hey Jude” – reaching out to the international audience who were gathered.

Following this a cake was cut by the Minister of Interior and other senior officials to celebrate the occasion.

In the after the PSP Higher Superior Institute was the venue for an international seminar on pickpocketing with presentations by police from several different countries. The objective was to share experiences and initiatives to help combat this problem which affects a number of international tourist destinations.

Interviewed by David Thomas, Superintendent Mauricio said: “The PSP, Lisbon Metropolitan Command covers an area where major events are taking place, such as political, social and sporting ones. Only with close local partnerships with our stakeholders and by adopting a team work philosophy can we effectively serve all the citizens (residents, those who are working in Lisbon metropolitan area and who are visiting us)”

He added “With the events we carried out on in 10th and 11th March we showed our commitment to our community, and the balance between a fast and efficient response to tackling serious and violent crime. We also emphasized our social responsibilities in our society by according high priority to proximity /community police activities mainly towards those who are more vulnerability; namely children, senior people and tourists. Our main goals, are based on Sir. Robert Peel principles, namely “obtaining the community support and confidence and to improve the quality of life of everyone we are serving.”

The 149th Anniversary was memorable through its diversity, creativeness and caring approach not only to those who had received medals, or had been killed in the line of duty but the community that the PSP Lisbon Command proudly serves.

Although not all such events are open to the public, for those that are Safe Communities Portugal, encourages those in the foreign community to take part, talk to police officers and learn more about the work that they do.

Former Islamic extremist arrested on suspicion of £1m eBay scam

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

Hassan Butt, who claimed to renounce extremism, suspected of defrauding buyers on auction website to fund terrorism

A man who claimed to be an al-Qaida insider but then said he had made it up has been arrested on suspicion of perpetrating a £1m-plus fraud on eBay to fund terrorism.

Hassan Butt, 35, is accused of conning thousands of customers by taking orders for iPhones, iPads and games consoles on the online auction site and then failing to deliver them.

Butt, a former spokesman for the extremist group of al-Muhajiroun, claimed to have helped send scores of Britons to terrorist training camps overseas, including Mohammad Sidique Khan, the ringleader of the 7 July 2005 attacks on London.

But after the attacks on the capital, Butt said he had seen the error of his ways and publicly spoke out against extremism. He featured heavily in the media and was even invited to meet a government minister to discuss ways to combat terrorism.

However, he later claimed that he lied about his jihadi past telling the media what it wanted to hear.

He was arrested in Manchester in September in relation to a company called Mi Genie, which sold electronic goods on eBay in the run up to Christmas 2014. It had been on the sites since 2012, predominately selling knitwear, but began selling high-end devices including iPhones for £500 during the festive season.

Hundreds of customers complained they had not received goods they had paid for, and attempts to contact the company had proved futile. The company’s eBay account was eventually shut down and police were contacted.

Another man, believed to be Butt’s business partner, was also arrested on the same day in nearby Bury, Lancashire. Both men were bailed last week.

A Metropolitan police spokesman said: “Two men arrested on Wednesday 23 September 2015 by officers from the Metropolitan police’s counter terrorism command (SO15), supported by colleagues from Greater Manchester police, on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud appeared on police bail on 18 November and were further arrested on fraud offences.”

An eBay spokesman said: “No customer was left out of pocket. We refunded every customer in full at the time of the event. We have dedicated in-house detection teams and alert systems in place to identify suspicious behaviour very quickly.

“Our teams share information with law enforcement agencies around the world to keep our marketplace safe for customers.”

Sintra – Person arrested for car theft and drug trafficking

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

The Metropolitan Command PSP Lisbon, through the Police Division of Sintra,  as part of a criminal investigation, have arrested a man, aged 28 years for car theft crime and drug trafficking.

Following several searches, the following items were seized:

  • Six vehicles of medium / high range;
  • 2549.5 DosesProduct narcotic suspected heroin;
  • 3945.00 Euros in cash the ECB;
  • 361 calibre.32 ammunition,  and
  • Three mobile phones.

Within the subsequent steps, it was possible to establish the suspect’s links to various thefts and drug trafficking.

The detainee was present in the Judicial District Court of Lisbon West, Center of Sintra, for the 1st Judicial Interrogation. An application was made for the person to be held in custody pending trial.