Archive for September, 2018

Pedrógão Grande: MP accuses 12 people of negligent homicide (manslaughter) crimes

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

The Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Investigation and Criminal Action Department (DIAP) of Leiria has filed charges against twelve defendants concerning the fires that took place on June 17, 2017 in the municipalities of Pedrogão Grande, Castanheira de Pêra, Figueiró dos Vinhos, Alvaiázere and Ansião.

The Public Ministry of the DIAP de Leiria has filed a charge against 12 defendants in connection with the fire investigation in Pedrógão Grande

In a note published on the MP’s website, Leiria district,on 28th September 2018  it is stated that “the defendants have been with negligent manslaughter and negligence offenses, some of which were offences to serious bodily harm”

“At the time of the fire, the twelve defendants comprised: two senior managers of an electricity supply company; three had command and coordination functions in the civil protection area, three were senior officials of the company responsible for maintaining the EN 236; three were councillors of municipalities where victims occurred, one still an employee of one of these municipalities, “the notice explains.

These fires caused more than sixty deaths and injured more than four more people, destroying more than twenty-four thousand hectares of forest and numerous properties, states the MP.

“Despite its enormous complexity, it was possible to complete the investigation in a little over a year, and the Public Ministry was assisted in its action by the Judiciary Police, Board of the Center, and important contributions of various public entities were also mobilized.”

 

Critical Fire period Extended to 15th October 2018

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

SCHEDULE

The operational situation of the rural firefighting strategy implemented in 2018

The level of risk of rural fire risk for the next few days, the operational measures prepared to cope with this aggravated risk and the care to be observed by the population in the use and enjoyment of rural areas during the period in question

Operational strategy for rural firefighting 2018

  • Reinforcement of monitoring of all occurrences • Increase in anticipation capacity • Establishment of Expert Nucleus in CNOS – H24 – to analyze the potential of each occurrence and support to the operational decision • Reinforcement of the terrestrial and aerial resources • Reinforcement of the monitoring and recognition aerial – 2 reconnaissance aircraft • Transfer of the heli-transport capacity to the GIPS-GNR, concentrating in the FEB the response of ATA

Operational strategy for rural firefighting 2018

  • Human resources 10,767 operational (+ 11% | 2017)
  • Land resources 2.303 vehicles (+ 12% | 2017)
  • Airborne means 55 + 1 (RAM) (+ 15% | 2017)

Operational strategy for rural firefighting 2018

Comparing the figures ​​of 2018 with the history of the last 10 years, there was 44% less rural fires and 63% less area burn than the annual average of the period

This year 2018 is, from 2008 and until yesterday, September 24, the 2nd year with the lowest level in number of fires and the 3rd year with the lowest value in the burned area

IR Risk – Next Days

  • The autumn has begun, but weather conditions maintain the summer pattern, ie the mainland territory continues with high risk of rural fire
  • In the last 72 hours there has been an increase in ignitions, as well as an increase in occurrences of greater complexity
  • There is a growing tendency to increase the frequency of extreme and out-of-season phenomena, such as to cause large rural fires

IR Risk – Next Days

GOVERNMENT EXTENDS CRITICAL FIRE PERIOD

The Government decided to extend the critical period of fires until October 15, within the framework of the Forest Fire Protection System, due to the foreseeable meteorological conditions during the first half of October

IR Risk – Next Days

It is essential to continue to respect the critical period of fires by avoiding the burning or burning of heaps of agricultural waste

ZERO TOLERANCE TO THE USE OF FIRE

The Portuguese have to wait for a period of reduced risk of fire to promote the usual cleaning of their lands

Director of the Military Judiciary Police detained in the context of the Tancos case

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

PJ Militar’s director, Colonel Luís Augusto Vieira was detained on Tuesday 25th September  in the investigation into the war material “allegedly” stolen from the Tancos military base in June last year. In addition at least five other people, including other elements of PJ Militar, GNR and a civilian suspect were detained.

GNR spokesman Hélder Barros confirms the arrest of three GNR personnel from the criminal investigation unit of GNR de Loulé, including the head of that unit. “In the context of a judicial police operation, three soldiers from the criminal investigation nucleus of Loulé were searched at work, and were detained in the meantime”.

In this case, it is suspected that the military of the PJM and the GNR have, in complicity with the alleged perpetrator of the robbery, forged the “recovery” of the weapons, to undermine the investigation of the PJ.

In a joint statement, the Attorney General’s Office and the PJ confirm that in the context of Operation Húbris, elements of PJ Militar, GNR and another suspect were detained without mentioning names or positions.

We have also carried out searches at various sites in the Greater Lisbon, Algarve, Porto and Santarém areas. This investigation investigates the circumstances surrounding the appearance on 18 October 2017 in the Chamusca region of war material stolen in Tancos, “says the PGR note.

The MP refers to the fact that these actions are “likely to include crimes of criminal association, denial of justice, prevarication, falsification of documents, influence peddling, personal favoritism practiced by an employee, abuse of power, reception, possession of a prohibited weapon and arms trafficking “.

Five prosecutors and about a hundred investigators and experts from the PJ participated in the operation.

Finally, it is also mentioned that “the detainees will be present to the Court of Criminal Investigation of Lisbon for the application of coercive measures”.

Six die in crash between two minivans on IC8 in Pombal

Monday, September 24th, 2018

“All the occupants” died on the spot, confirmed the lieutenant of the GNR, Daniel de Matos, confirming that there were six fatalities, in the accident that occoured on 24th September at around 0700 hrs on the IC8 near Pombal.. The first call for a distress call reported eight people involved in the collision but at the scene firefighters confirmed that six bodies were in the wreckage of the two vehicles.

The bodies have already been removed from the wreckage of the minivans, which would carry workers from two companies and which had a capacity of six passengers each. The victims were all residents of the municipality of Pombal, five of Portuguese nationality and another of Brazilian nationality, revealed the mayor of Pombal, Diogo Mateus.

Daniel de Matos also revealed that one of the vehicles had stopped for work three kilometres before the crash site and that four people and work tools were inside. The fog may have been a factor in the accident.

According to the website of Civil Protection, there were 33 operational supported by 13 vehicles. The accident alert was given at 7.04 am this Monday. Two GNR brigades dedicated to the criminal investigation of accidents gathered evidence in IC8.

 

Detained man with 30 doses of heroin in Madeira

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

A 23-year-old man was detained in the parish of Caniçal, in the municipality of Machico, on the eastern tip of Madeira, with enough heroin for 30 doses, the GNR said on Saturday 22nd September.

According to the Territorial Command of Madeira, the arrest took place at the Tax Office of the Madeira Free Zone.

In the same document, the authorities said that the arrest occurred “in the course of a prosecution action,” and the military of the GNR approached two young people, one of whom was in possession of the drug.

The suspect was constituted defendant

Prosecutor suspended banking transactions worth 200 million euros this year

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

The Public Prosecutor’s Office this year suspended bank transactions amounting to 200 million euros in the framework of criminal investigations into money laundering, according to data provided at a conference on corruption this Friday.

The director of the Central Department of Investigation and Criminal Action (DCIAP), Amadeu Guerra, on a balance sheet of the ETHOS project, revealed that “the value of suspensions of banking operations under investigation was already around 200 million euros this year,” much higher than the 16 million collected last year.

Considering that the ETHOS project should be extended to the investigation of money laundering and terrorist financing crimes, the magistrate also revealed that the number of communications on money laundering that this year reached the Public Prosecutor’s Office amounts to 4,400.

The director of DCIAP also drew attention to the existence of a “new criminal reality” related to “money laundering using virtual currencies”, stressing that, in this area too, “training must be deepened.”

The ETHOS-corruption and economic-financial crime project comprises 60 magistrates working in the specialized sections – DCIAP, district EIDPs and the EISD of the counties – investigating economic and financial crime and corruption, as well as magistrates from the Courts of Accounts, Administrative Jurisdiction and Constitutional Court. It is an intensive and highly specialized training program for prosecutors in the areas of prevention and investigation of corruption and economic and financial crime.

In addition to this training were also held in public procurement banking and financial law, tax law and accounting, town planning and recovery of the proceeds of crime.

After the assessment by Amadeu Guerra, the Attorney General of the Republic, who at the end of her address received a standing ovation from the conference, praised the work done by the magistrates of the Public Prosecution during his term, without which it would not be possible to reach the goals.

^5 year old man arrested with 210 cannabis plants

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

A 65-year-old man is being heard at the Coimbra Court of Criminal Investigation (TIC) after being detained in Lousã with 210 cannabis plants.

The commander of GNR Lousã Territorial Detachment, captain Filipe Mendes, revealed that the suspect was arrested on Thursday 20th September for drug trafficking in the town of Lousã, Coimbra district, where he lives.

Coimbra’s ICT interrogation, in order to establish coercive measures against the defendant, “began early afternoon” today, he added.

“In the context of a drug trafficking investigation, which took place about six months ago, a search warrant was issued, and 210 cannabis plants were seized in various phases of maturation,” in addition to “three kilos of sumidades” and 35 doses of leaves of the same plant ready for consumption, said in a statement the Territorial Command of Coimbra of the GNR.

The detainee has “criminal records for practicing the same type of crime,” according to the statement.

Acores Earthquake Activity – Civil Protection issues Self protection warning

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

The Information and Surveillance Centre of the Azores (CIVISA) reports that since 20:35 local time (plus one hour in Lisbon) on September 20, seismic activity has been significantly higher than normal in an epicentral region at sea , located between 1 and 5 km south of Povoação, island of S. Miguel, “reads the CIVISA statement, reproduced by civil protection.

For this reason, the Regional Civil Protection and Fire Service of the Azores issued a statement today recommending that some measures of self-protection be taken.

A second earthquake with a magnitude 2.5 magnitude was felt on Friday in Povoação, São Miguel island, in the Azores, said the Regional Service of Civil Protection and Firemen of the Azores (SRPCBA).

According to a statement, the earthquake was recorded at 1:25 pm local time (another hour in Lisbon) and had an epicenter about two kilometres south / southwest of the Azores. Village.

By 9:30 am, another earthquake measuring 2.5 on the Richter scale and an epicenter about two kilometress southwest of Povoação was recorded.

The SRPCBA indicated at the time that the quake was also felt in Furnas, Ribeira Quente and Água Retorta.

Civil Protection states that CIVISA continues to monitor developments, issuing new communications if necessary.

 

Road Traffic Enforcement and accidents

Friday, September 21st, 2018

Regional Police of the Public Security Police of Madeira informs that, in relation to the road casualty verified in the period from 14Sth to 20th September 2018, a total of 40 road accidents occurred distributed among the following Municipalities: Funchal (22), Câmara de Lobos (4), Ribeira Brava (2), Ponta do Sol (2), Calheta, Moniz (1) São Vicente (1), Santana (1), Machico (3) and Santa Cruz (3).

This number of accidents resulted in a total of one severe injury (Funchal) and 12 minor injuries (7 in Funchal, one in Lobos, one in Ponta do Sol, one in Calheta,  one in Porto Moniz and 1 in Santa Cruz.

The typologies of the mentioned road accidents were as follows: Collision (1), Collision (25), detachment (12) and others (2).

During the aforementioned period, we developed a series of highway inspection operations, which resulted in seven alcohol-related arrests (3 in Funchal,  one in Câmara de Lobos, 2 in Ribeira Brava and one in Santa Cruz) and 2 Detentions for lack of driving license in Funchal and Machico.

This week we recorded a decrease of 26 traffic accidents compared to the previous week, drivers to continue this trend, with particular attention to speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol.

This weekend, the Regional Command of PSP Madeira is associated with the movement of the EDWARD (European Day Without A Road Death), which marked the European Day without dead on the Road on 19 September, with the STOP operations throughout the Autonomous Region of Madeira with the aim of promoting a reflection on the behaviour and attitude of drivers.

Overseas Experts visit Portugal to access Rural fire management

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

“Portugal has a catastrophic amount of fuel in its forests”

A team of South African experts was in our country, invited by Tiago Oliveira, president of the Mission Structure for the Management of Rural Fire. The head of the team was alarmed by what he saw: “If nothing is done, it can burn all over again”

What was the purpose of your visit to Portugal?

Our team belongs to Wildfire , a company specializing in fire management and the articulation of all means of combat. This visit was part of an international sharing program. The reason is simple: fire behaves exactly the same throughout the world. The science of fire is exactly the same. People speak different languages, but they do exactly the same. Which means that any lesson learned in one place in the world has to be shared. We do not have enough time to create our own experience. Mistakes should not be repeated because they can hurt or kill many people. That is why we are here because we have the experience that we can share.

What did you conclude about the situation in Portugal at this time, given the tragedy of last year?

Undoubtedly, the Portuguese situation is complex. It is not global warming or climate change that causes the big fires. It’s the fuel that’s available on the land to burn, and that’s one of the lessons the world is learning this year. California burned, Montana, Sweden, Greece, Portugal, Indonesia, South Africa all at the same time. And the common denominator in all of them was not the behaviour of the fire or the fact that it was very dry, but the amount of fuel on the ground ready to burn. And this has its origin in a large-scale bias according to which all fire is evil. One sees a fire and goes out because it is bad, bad, bad. Nature is not like that. Nature is poised to burn. There are many species that are adapted to the fire and seek it to develop, to maintain and to make the seeds germinate.

Is it important to clean the vegetation, one of the measures that the government has promoted most this year?

Yes, but not just at ground level. The commercial plantations are constituted by lines of trees with space between them, so that in a fire fight the firemen can move between them. If the trees are not so it is not possible to catch fire. They must have space between them.

And did you see much forest “disorganization” in Portugal?

All over the place. There are years and years of accumulated fuel, and the fuel has to be managed.

This happens only in Portugal?

I loved to say that they are special – and they are in many things – but in this matter they are not unique. What is unique is that you are very complex, have many small roads with only one entrance and one exit. If someone gets caught in the middle of a fire, it’s very bad.

What do we have to do more to prevent these large fires?

What is lacking is even large-scale fuel management. Anyone responsible for an area must be focused on that management. Burn the vegetation more, change it, cut it, whatever it takes … Give space to the trees and the firemen to fight the fires when they happen …

From what you say, is there always a great possibility of repeating the tragedy of 2017, at least in relation to the great size of the burned area?

Yes. Portugal has a catastrophic amount of fuel in its forests. Something has to be done. It is a complex situation. If nothing is done, it can very easily burn all over again.

If this problem is identified, why do you think it is not resolved?

One of the reasons is the prejudice I have already mentioned about the exclusion of fire. The fire existed many years before us and will continue long after us. The point is that at the moment this fuel problem has become global. Portugal has learned its lessons, and if nothing is done it happens again.

Is it like fighting fire with fire?

Not just with controlled fire. Anyway, at this point the amount of fuel is so great that they can not risk using the fire to make such management. It’s too dangerous. You have to clean first and then use the fire.

Apart from this fuel question, what other problems can you point out?

According to our experience, you have good training and training, great resources, field personnel, aircraft. It’s brilliant. However, and I will say this in a gentle way, sometimes there could be a better use of these resources. There could be more efficient use. It is not complicated to fight a fire, but managing a fire is a whole different science. In the triangle that constitutes fire – heat, oxygen and fuel – the only side we can influence is even that of fuel. It is the only part of the triangle on which we can have direct control. If we can do it, why do not we? We know it’s going to burn, it’s an emergency. It may be hot, it may be dry, but if there is no burning fuel, it just does not burn. Of course they can say that if there was no ignition the fire would not start. But if there was no fuel,

What do you foresee for the future in Portugal on this issue?

Unless something is done – and I do not just say it, I say do it myself – it will happen again what has already happened. And I hate to say this. But I can even write it on a piece of paper.

What was the biggest surprise of what you saw this month?

The speed with which the fuel has increased since the last time I was here in November 2017. It really hurt a lot. I thought there were big problems again. What do we do? Reduce fuel. My team, who was in the area of ​​Pedrógão and in Monchique saw electricity poles without the clean ground of vegetation around the wheel, when this was one of the causes of fires. We are not learning the lessons. And I say “we” on a global scale.

The government promoted for a few months the cleaning of the forests and many people did it …

But there has to be continuity. If it does not, the problem even gets worse. The seeds germinate faster.

Are there any countries that are a good example in fire prevention?

All countries have good and more areas. Here in Portugal, for example, in Sintra, in the area managed by Monte da Lua (Monte da Lua Parks), they are doing an incredible job in fuel management. We know that it is not an easy job to do all over the country, but it is even necessary. Politicians have to know this, because they are the ones who send the money. If there is political will, there can be change. People have to know that you cannot blame climate change. It’s too late for that.