Archive for September, 2019

Rural Fires – 2019 Decrease in the number of people arrested for Arson

Saturday, September 14th, 2019

From the beginning of the year until 11th September, the Republican National Guard (GNR) detained 51 people for setting fires in forest areas, having recorded 5269 forest fire crimes in the same period.

In a report the GNR notes that from the beginning of the year until 11 September 2019 it registered 5269 crimes, identified 482 people and detained 51 others for the forest fire crime, under article 274 of Criminal Penal Code. The penalty for forest fire crime can range from one to twelve years in prison or a fine .

The number of arrests decreased considerably compared to the same period last year. From January until August 2018, according to a statement released by the GNR website, 81 people were detained for fires. “Since January 1 of this year, , the GNR has carried out more than 30,000 patrols, which resulted in the identification of 708 suspects and the arrest of 51 arsonists,” reads the note.

Still, in recent days, there have been several cases. In Grândola, Setúbal district, a 41-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman were arrested for the forest fire crime that put a dwelling at risk. Also in Cinfães, Viseu district, a 41-year-old woman was arrested for starting a fire while clearing a plot of land; and in Arronches, Portalegre district, GNR detained  a 67-year-old man who set fire to a grazing area while riding a bicycle, to whom the preventive detention coercion measure was applied.

The GNR also identified a 17-year-old suspect of a forest fire crime in Resende, Viseu district, and an 81-year-old man who caused a fire by using fire to destroy a wasp nest, also in Viseu. Last week, three minors, all 13 yeaRS of age, were indetified in connection in respect of two forest fires that resulted in a total burned area of ​​about 1.5 hectares of forest patch belonging to the Sintra Natural Park.

Joint Statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development

Thursday, September 12th, 2019

Given the weather forecast for the coming days, which point to a significant increase in the risk of forest fire, the Minister of Home Affairs and the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development today (12th September) signed the Order determining the Alert Situation Statement for the period. between 00:01 hrs on 13 September and 23:59 on 14 September 2019 for the whole of mainland Portugal.

The Alert Status Statement results from the following factors:

  • The Technical-Operational Communiqué of the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority (ANEPC) that determines, until September 14, 2019, the issue of the Red Level Special Alert State of the Special Rural Firefighting Device (DECIR) in the districts of Setúbal, Lisbon, Santarém, Portalegre, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Guarda, Viseu, Vila Real and Bragança;
  • ANEPC’s technical-operational communiqué determining the maintenance of the Orange Level Special Alert Status for the remaining districts of mainland Portugal;
  • The need to adopt preventive and special measures of reaction to the risk of fire.

Exceptional measures under the Alert Situation are:

  • Increased readiness and operational response by GNR and PSP, with reinforcement of means for surveillance, surveillance, behaviour deterrent patrols and general support for protective and distress operations that may be triggered, considering – for this purpose, the interruption of vacation leave and / or suspension of breaks and rest periods is authorized;
  • Increased readiness and mobilization of emergency medical, public health and psychosocial support teams, by the competent health and social security entities, through their respective Guardianships;
  • Permanent mobilization of Forest Sapper teams;
  • Permanent mobilization of the National Corps of Forest Agents (CNAF) and the Nature Watchers that are part of the fire prevention and fighting device, by the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests, I. P., through their respective Guardianships;
  • Increased readiness of response teams of entities with special duty of cooperation in the areas of communications (fixed and mobile network operators) and energy (transport and distribution);
  • Prohibition of access, circulation and permanence within the forest spaces, previously defined in the Municipal Forest Fire Protection Plans (PMDFCI), as well as in the forest paths, rural paths and other paths through them;
  • Prohibition of burning and burning of operating surplus;
  • Total ban on the use of fireworks or other pyrotechnic devices, regardless of their form of combustion, as well as the suspension of authorizations issued in districts where the Red Level Special Alert Status has been declared by the ANEPC;
  • Public service waiver of Public Administration workers who perform cumulatively the duties of volunteer firefighter, pursuant to the provisions of article 26-A of Decree-Law No. 241/2007, of 21 June, except those who perform public service functions to provide health care in emergency situations, namely prehospital emergency technicians (TEPH) and nurses from INEM – National Institute of Medical Emergency, IP and security forces;
  • Exemption from the service of private sector workers who cumulatively perform the duties of volunteer firefighter, in districts in which the Red Level Special Alert State has been declared by ANEPC, pursuant to article 26 of Decree-Law no. 241/2007, of June 21;
  • Use of available means provided for in the National Plan and District Civil Protection Emergency Plans;
  • Prohibition of carrying out work in forest spaces, except those associated with rural firefighting situations, with the use of blade or metal disc shovels, cutters, shredders and machines with blade or front shovel.

The Order determines to ANEPC the issuance of a Population Warning about the danger of rural fires and also provides the request to the Air Force, through the Ministry of National Defence, the availability of air resources to be operational, if necessary, in the Air Centres to be determined by ANEPC.

The Alert Situation Statement also determines the immediate activation of the territorially competent institutional coordination structures (National Operational Coordination Centre and District Operational Coordination Centres).

Lisbon, September 12, 2019

GNR air patrol detects illegal logging of trees in forest areas

Thursday, September 12th, 2019

From September 4th until midnight yesterday, September 10th, under the Alert Status operation, the GNR, through SEPNA, criminal investigation units, cavalry units and GIPS, strengthened surveillance, and ground patrolling throughout the mainland to help prevent forest fires.

In addition, the GNR, using a Portuguese Air Force (FAP) helicopter, carried out air patrols, focusing on districts that are in Special Alert State, with very high and maximum fire risk.

In addition to its normal FAP (pilot and mechanic) garrison, the helicopter was carrying two GNR military personnel, who were constantly observing the forest areas, in order to detect activities that violated the stated declaration, or that constitute suspicious criminal behaviour..

During the air patrol carried out yesterday, September 10, near Rio Maior, the air surveillance detected an illegal forestry activity, using machinery, an activity that is prohibited because the Alert Situation in place.

The military, who were in the helicopter, transmitted the GPS coordinates to the ground patrol, which allowed them to intercept and identify two men, 22 and 56 years old, employees of a forestry company, which operated two wood loading and hauling machines. As a result the men immediately ceased work.

The facts were sent to the Judicial Court of Santarém for further action

As the entity responsible for coordinating national forest surveillance patrols during the Warning Status period, GNR coordinated a total of 5 780 patrols, of which 3,846 were carried out by GNR themselves. A total of 7 836 military were involved travelling more than 222,000 kms. During this period, the GNR still identified 24 individuals and detained 4 others, due to the suspicion of the crime of forest fires.

PJ dismantles one of Europe’s largest counterfeit currency networks

Monday, September 9th, 2019

Lisbon, 09 Sep 2019 (Lusa) – The Judicial Police (PJ) has dismantled one of Europe’s largest counterfeit money chains, in an operation in which five people were arrested and more than 1,800 counterfeit 50 and 10 euro bank notes were seized.

In a statement, PJ explains that, through the National Anti-Corruption Unit and with the collaboration of EUROPOL, it dismantled the counterfeit  network, marketed through the so-called ‘darknet’, in an operation involving eight home and non-domestic searches.

In the “Deep Money” operation 1,833 counterfeit banknotes (1,290 banknotes of 50 € and 543 of 10 €), with a total of  €69,930 euros, as well as “various objects related to the production of banknotes, namely computers, printers, paper with security filament incorporation, holograms and self-adhesive holographic bands, ultraviolet inks and ink cartridges ”.

Five people, three men and two women, aged 26 to 63, were arrested for crimes of counterfeiting and criminal association. The leader of the criminal group was a Portuguese resident of Colombia, who was detained under an International Arrest Warrant.

The five detainees were in custody.

“This criminal network had been operating since at least the beginning of 2017 and was responsible for the production of over 26,000 notes, mostly from € 50,” says PJ.

This operation included other units of the Judicial Police, namely the National Unit to Combat Cybercrime and Technological Crime and the Scientific Police Laboratory.

Counterfeit banknotes were seized almost everywhere in Europe, with a higher incidence in France, Germany, Spain and Portugal, reaching a value of over €1.3 million.

“Counterfeit notes were advertised in one of darknet’s main markets, with orders received either through private messages on that market or through encrypted chat platforms,” PJ said in the statement, adding that after payment, as a rule, made through virtual currency, “the notes were sent by post from Portugal, where they were being produced”.

“The high quality of the notes produced by this criminal network was recognized by all buyers, based on the use of security paper incorporating security filament, holograms and self-adhesive holographic bands, ultraviolet inks, watermark and sweet cut,” he explains. .

The alleged leader of this criminal group, a Portuguese citizen residing in Colombia since mid-2018 and with a history of various crimes, was arrested there under an International Arrest Warrant issued by the Portuguese authorities following close cooperation with the Colombian authorities. .

“In recent days, the Colombian authorities have expelled them from the country, having been detained by the Judiciary Police, already in the national territory,” adds the PJ.

PJ says it will provide further clarification on the 11:30 operation at the Judiciary Police headquarters in Lisbon.

 

RED FIRE WARNING ALERT DECLARED BY GOVERNMENT IN 13 DISTRICTS

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

TUESDAY 3rd SEPTEMBER 1730 HRS

NOTE: This has now been EXTENDED TO 23.59 HRS 10TH SEPTEMBER

 

The National Civil Protection Authority have declared a RED ALERT (the highest level) in the north and centre of the country due to the risk of fire.

The affected 13 districts are: Aveiro, Braga, Bragança, Castelo Branco, Santarém, Coimbra, Guarda, Portalegre, Porto, Vila Real, Viana do Castelo, Viseu and Leiria.

ANEPC decided to keep the orange alert, the second highest of the scale, for Beja and Faro, which was already in effect for these districts, and to raise from yellow to orange the alert for Lisbon, Évora and Setúbal, between Wednesday and Sunday. .

Also present at the press conference, ANEPC president Mourato Nunes stressed the importance of everyone being aware of the risk of forest fires, noting that “there are only fires if there are ignitions”.

“There needs to be a great deal of discipline to avoid unnecessary fires,” he said, ensuring the device was set up for rapid and effective intervention, but admitted the occurrence of imponderables and uncontrollable fires.

The envisaged plan consists of 11,492 field operations, supported by 60 air assets, and a reconnaissance helicopter is also available.

At the press conference, Nuno Moreira, from the Portuguese Institute of Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA), warned that the coming days will have very high temperatures, reaching 40 degrees in the southern and Tagus Valley regions and being over 30 degrees in the rest of the territory.

It is also expected very hot nights in Lisbon and Tagus Valley, never falling below 20 degrees and very low relative humidity values, particularly on the coast, which is not usual.

Strong wind is still expected, especially in the mountainous regions and in the center and north of the country.

Over 500 complaints of Asian Wasp so far this year.

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

Lisbon, 03 Sep 2019 (Lusa) – The presence of the Asian wasp in Portugal prompted 508 complaints from citizens this year, mostly located in the Porto district (133), with an increase in sightings since 2017, according to Republican National Guard (GNR).

Scientifically named velutina wasp, the Asian wasp recorded the first sighting in Portugal in 2011, in the district of Viana do Castelo, and “since then it has been moving to the south of the country, and Lisbon, until now, It is the southernmost district where there is the presence of the velutine wasp, ”said Ricardo Vaz Alves of the GNR’s Service for Nature and Environment Protection (SEPNA).

“From 2017 to the present year, we have seen an increase in the number of complaints,” said Ricardo Vaz Alves, speaking to Lusa, indicating that in 2017 there were 499 sightings, which increased to 708 in 2018 and that , this year, until August 25, adds 508 situations related to the presence of Asian wasp.

In terms of location, the districts with the most complaints throughout this year were Porto (133), Braga (92), Viseu (60), Aveiro (53) and Coimbra (50).

According to the head of SEPNA, the Asian wasp adapts to the spaces offered to pollinate and also to nest, so “there is no distinction between rural and urban spaces” in the distribution and expansion of this pest in national territory. .

However, the Asian wasp preferentially chooses places with less disturbance, which explains “the rural spaces are more attractive for their installation”.

Through the SOS Environment and Territory line – 808 200 520, GNR is recording the number of complaints, “which are often with sightings,” said Ricardo Vaz Alves, warning that this does not mean that the presence of the Asian wasp is confirmed, “But anyway, there is a record, or at least it is a notion that the citizen has that there is the presence of velutine wasps.”

In 2018, the action plan for the surveillance and control of wasp velutine was implemented in Portugal, aimed at the prevention, surveillance and control of these animals throughout the national territory, with a view to the safety of citizens, the protection of agricultural activity and the beekeeping, as well as minimizing impacts on biodiversity.

Regarding the action plan, GNR, through SEPNA, has participated in surveillance, control and destruction actions, as well as training and dissemination actions, as well as handling and forwarding all complaints received through the SOS Environment and Territory.

In this context, Ricardo Vaz Alves appealed to citizens to avoid destroying the nests, “since if the destruction is not 100% of the nest, the wasp will nest elsewhere, and the problem persists, so the destruction must only by the authorities, in this case municipal civil protection services ”.

GNR has no data on the accounting for damage and damage caused by the presence of the Asian wasp, nor the number of victims.

“There are more and more cases in which reports of the wasp threaten the citizen, but we are unable to do this directly,” said the SEPNA official, explaining that “the wasp itself does not attack people, it has to feel a threat ”, which presupposes a distance of up to five meters.

According to Ricardo Vaz Alves, “whenever [the wasps] feel threatened in their territory they attack and attack in large numbers, not just in isolation”, however “the sting itself is not a danger”, I hope for people who are allergic to the bite.

All information collected on the evolution of velutine wasp in national territory is centralized in the database managed by the Institute for Nature and Forest Conservation (ICNF), accessible through the SOS Vespa platform (http://www.sosvespa.pt/ web).

80 bogus violent crime reports since 2018 in Odivelas and Loures

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

PSP has identified 80 bogus violent crime reports in the municipalities of Odivelas and Loures in Lisbon since the beginning of 2018, representing almost 10% of the serious crimes recorded since then. This is according to the PSP Lisbon Metropolitan Command, through the Loures Police Division, quoted in a statement.

They added that this jeopardizes the safety of the community, as the PSP have to deal with these complaints thus detracting from their other work.

During August 2019, PSP counted ten such cases, namely alleged theft of mobile phones, whose complaints were filed at the police stations of Odivelas and Loures.

“Most of the complaints dealt with alleged scenarios of theft of mobile phones, which are insured and of very high value, sometimes reaching above 1000 euros,” said the PSP.

In the light of the events of the past month, the authorities contacted the “alleged injured parties” and found “various weaknesses, inconsistences and contradictions in their testimony, which inevitably led them to admit that their complaint were false.”

In the press release, PSP also said that insurers were informed of the scam in order to ascertain if they had been approached in making bogus claims.

The suspects were constituted defendants and subject to a term of identity and residence.

However, the authorities also point out two situations of false allegations concerning alleged car thefts.