Hawaii officials were warned years ago that Maui’s Lahaina faced High Wildfire Risk


Wall Street Journal 12th August 2023

Nearly a decade before a wildfire destroyed the coastal Maui town of Lahaina this week, killing at least 89 people, a report by Hawaiian fire researchers warned that the area was at extremely high risk of burning.

Another report, in 2020, tied fires to winds from a passing hurricane—similar to the ones that fanned the Lahaina blaze.

And the state’s electric utility had for years worried about wildfire risk in the area. It even flew drones to monitor conditions.

Yet local authorities said in the aftermath of this week’s devastation that though they knew wildfires were becoming more frequent in Hawaii, they weren’t prepared for one to roar through Lahaina.

The fire hit the coastal town so quickly and caught officials so off-guard that emergency sirens didn’t sound. Many panicked residents were unable to flee on the town’s one clogged highway and took boats or swam to safety, if they were able to escape at all.

In 2014, a wildfire-protection plan for the area was written by the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, a non-profit that works with government agencies. It warned that Lahaina was among Maui’s most fire-prone areas because of its proximity to parched grasslands, steep terrain and frequent winds.

The plan, which involved Maui and state officials, laid out a multitude of mitigation measures that needed to be undertaken to shield the area around Lahaina from fires. They included thinning vegetation near populated areas, improving wildfire-response capabilities and working with landowners and utilities to help reduce fire risk on their property.

Some of the recommendations from the 2014 plan, which was devised after more than a half-dozen community meetings, were implemented, like brush thinning efforts and public education for landowners, said the report’s lead author, Elizabeth Pickett. But others, such as ramping up emergency-response capacity, have been stymied by a lack of funding, logistical hurdles in rugged terrain and competing priorities, said Pickett, co-executive director of the wildfire non-profit.

“We’ve been hammering this home, and it’s just really frustrating and heart breaking to see that some things could have been done, but we couldn’t find money,” she said. “We are living through what happens when there’s a lag and everyone’s still catching up.”

Representatives for the Hawaii State and Maui county governments didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Asked at a press conference Thursday why the state wasn’t more prepared, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said, “We’ve never experienced a wildfire that affected a city like this before.

He said officials were particularly surprised that Hurricane Dora, which passed by Hawaii this week, caused winds as strong as 60 miles an hour (100 km/h) , driving the blaze into Lahaina faster than emergency responders and residents could keep up.

“This was, of course, a shock to see a hurricane and its winds and trade winds cause collateral damage, which was the spread of fire,” he said.

But that risk was known too.

The fire danger from passing hurricanes in Hawaii was documented in a 2020 report by researchers at the University of Hawaii and the East-West Center, which tied a 2018 outbreak of fires on both Maui and Oahu to winds from Hurricane Lane.

Like Hurricane Dora, Hurricane Lane passed the islands to the south, but sparked four fires—three on West Maui and one on Oahu—which blackened about 3,000 acres.

Over the past decade, an average of 20,000 acres have burned annually in Hawaii, more than quadruple the pace from a century ago, according to the Pacific Fire Exchange, a wildfire research group.

One of the main causes has been the proliferation of non-native grass and shrubs, the group said.

The researchers in the 2020 hurricane report said the fires tied to Lane ignited in areas dominated by non-native grasses, which are exceptionally flammable and have proliferated in recent years, now covering one-quarter of the state.

Non-native grasses blanketed the sloped terrain around Lahaina.

Utility Lines

Jennifer Potter, a former state public utility commissioner who lives on Maui, said she began hearing growing concern from community members about fire activity on the island beginning in 2019. That same year, Hawaiian Electric, the state’s main utility, said it would fly drones over areas including West Maui to identify utility lines prone to wildfires.

Documents show Hawaiian Electric submitted a request for funding in 2022 from the public utilities commission to help offset the $189.7 million it said it needed to bolster its power grid across the state, including wildfire-prevention measures. The request is still being processed.

A spokesman for the utility didn’t respond to requests for comment.

“There was absolutely knowledge within the state and within the electric industry that fire was a huge, huge concern on the island of Maui, and even more so than any of the other islands,” Potter said. “I don’t think it’s fair to say we’ve never seen this coming.”

Residents of Lahaina said they didn’t see the fire coming just hours before it reached their town Tuesday.

Around 9 a.m. local time that day, Maui officials said the wildfire outside Lahaina had been 100% contained. By midafternoon, however, it had grown out of control, driven by winds as strong as 60 miles an hour.

The Wildfire


“The fire that day moved so quickly, that from where it started in the brush to where it moved into the neighbourhood, communications back to those who make [emergency] notifications were physically nearly impossible,” he said.

Some Lahaina residents said they received emergency alerts, but many didn’t. The fire disabled cellular service in the city, as well as power and water.

Hawaii has what it says is one of the world’s largest siren systems to warn people of all kinds of events, including wildfires and hurricanes. Maui County has 80. State records don’t indicate that the sirens sounded in Lahaina, according to the Associated Press.

“Normally there’d be, like, a hurricane siren or something. None of that stuff went off,” said Kevin Campbell, who escaped Lahaina with his pregnant wife, Tasha.

When he tried to persuade friends to leave, he said, some argued that it was pointless for them to go. The single-lane Honoapi’ilani Highway, the main road out of town, was jammed with cars. Portions of it were closed because of downed power lines from the earlier windstorms.

Some residents and tourists abandoned their gridlocked cars on foot, while others rammed vehicles through gates, fled by boat, or waited out the fire in the ocean, witnesses said.

“It was so damn fast, by the time I realized, it was like a rainstorm of red sparks going sideways,” said Jo Ann Hayashi, who spent hours wading in the water of Lahaina Harbor to escape the flames.

Ginger Adams Otis, Suryatapa Bhattacharya and Christine Mai-Duc contributed to this article.













World Youth Day – Safety and Security


David Thomas President Safe Communities Portugal was interviewed by Owen Gee on CrimeCheck feature on Solid Gold Sunday, yesterday 30th July, on safety and security during World Youth day 1st to 6th August 2023. David outlined that:

The events are expected to attract over one million to 1.5 million people from all over the world in Lisbon alone. Some areas where major events will be extremely crowded.

It is an unprecedented major security operation for police and health authorities, with a numbers of measure to help people have a safe and enjoyable time.

The main events will take place at Parque Eduardo 7th and “Campo da Graça” (Tejo Park). All information available from JMJ website.

10,000 PSP deployed, 300 civil protection

Various police operations in place:  Anti pick pocket operation, surveillance operations on the beaches of the Cascais line. Border security with Spain has been stepped up

Heat and health

High temperatures -Importance therefore of keeping hydrated use sunscreen​

There will be health stations at major events for those requiring assistance.

The assistance provided by the National Health Service 24 (SNS24) and the National Institute of Medical Emergencies (INEM) will be available in 69 languages during World Youth Day (WYD).

Drones Prohibited

Due to the visit of Pope Francis to the Shrine of Fatima, 5th August the use of unmanned aircraft (Drones) in the Cova da Iria airspace will be prohibited from July 29 to August 6, 2023.

Events what is prohibited

Ttems that cannot be taken into the JMJ main event venues: drones, fireworks, pyrotechnics, laser pointers, knives, glass objects like bottles


IPMA will support WYD 2023 participants through the launch of a microsite with meteorological information fin English and Portuguese from 31st July for quick information available will be for 3 locations in the city of Lisbon.


World Youth Day will cause constraints to traffic, including absolute restrictions from Parque Eduardo VII to downtown Lisbon on the 1st, 3rd and 4th of August, and constraints in the Parque das Nações area and on the Passeio Marítimo de Algés in the August 5th and 6th. There will be certain stations on the yellow and blue metro lines where stations are closed.

Advice is to use public transport and avoid use of cars.


All waste produced must be deposited in containers for recycling and, if it is not recyclable, place it in the undifferentiated container; Do not discard waste

Crime prevention
· General advice given concerning looking after valuables, use your group chat to check in with each other  -Share your location with friends and family on your phone ; keep details of your accommodation.

More info:

In Portuguese and English   + App

Safe Communities Portugal FB page

Brits in Portugal has FB page with useful info








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ALGARSAFE’23 Group Presentation on “Risk Communication and Awareness” for the Foreign Community


Saturday 20th May 2023 1200 to 13.00 hrs Portimão Arena and the Fairs and Exhibitions Park

This will be a unique opportunity to hear in English from the experts about risk communication and interpretation of warning and alert systems.

Between May 18th and 20th, the Portimão Arena and the Fairs and Exhibitions Park will host ALGARSAFE´23 – Portimão International Civil Protection and Relief Fair, in an initiative co-organized by the Portimão City Council and the Bombeiros de Portimão,, with the support from the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection, also counting on institutional partners of national reference, such as the National School of Firefighters, the National Institute of Medical Emergency, the Authority for Working Conditions and Safe Communities Portugal, among others.

Considered the largest fair of its kind in the south of the Tagus, ALGARSAFE´23 will be attended by over 65 public and private entities, including providers and suppliers of goods and services in the area of security and civil protection, as well as Civil Protection Agents and cooperating entities of the Integrated Protection and Rescue Operations System at national level.

A unique opportunity to visit a space dedicated “body and soul” to emergency, civil protection and security.

A commercial space for those looking for the best solutions and equipment, with thematic, pedagogical and discussion forums on current issues, training for those responsible for protecting, saving or even preventing, unprecedented moments to understand the functioning of the Civil Protection System in Portugal, as well as actions aimed at those who want to learn to be more aware and prepared in their self-protection.

An event aimed equally at families, with playful moments where children can even trigger the sirens of vehicles!

On Saturday 20th May from 12.00 13:00 hrs there will be group presentation with questions and answers on “Risk Communication for Foreign Communities” facilitated by Safe Communities Portugal.

Synopsis: Session will be delivered in English, involving the different players in risk communication and interpretation of warning and alert systems, with the participation of:

Republican National Guard,

Institute of Nature Conservation and Forestry,

National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority and the

Municipality of Civil Protection of Portimão.

This is open to the general public and all are welcome to attend.

*Registration at the ALGARSAFE’23 secretariat (desk) on the day or by email: Free registration, limited to the number of places available.

ALGARSAFE’23: Organisation Portimão City Council and the Bombeiros de Portimão

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ERC wants to hold platforms accountable for misinformation and harmful effects on social media


Lisbon, 22 Apr 2023 (Lusa) – The member of the ERC Regulatory Board João Pedro Figueiredo defended today that social networks and service providers should be held responsible for misinformation and the effects of the circulation of false information on their platforms.

“In the elaboration of the laws of the different sectors (…) specific and clear realities could be foreseen for all the actors in this sector, and first of all in the service providers”, he said in his opening speech at the sixth edition of the Literacia, Media Congress and Citizenship, which runs until today in Lisbon.

“When we are talking about media literacy, we are not just talking about media, we are talking about information, and much of what goes on the internet and much of the misinformation and harmful effects associated with the circulation of information does not come from the media., they don’t come from the media, they come from social networks”, added the member of the Regulatory Entity for Social Communication.

João Pedro Figueiredo underlined that social networks “are not currently regulated by regulators”, but that this should happen.

“It is necessary to make service providers and platforms accountable,” he insisted.

However, he underlined that this will also require resources – human and financial – for its operation, difficulties that the regulator has faced in recent years.

The ERC member was speaking during the second of two days of the sixth edition of the Literacy, Media and Citizenship Congress, which takes place at the Escola Superior de Comunicação Social of the Polytechnic Institute of Lisbon, in Benfica, and whose motto was chosen by GILM – Grupo Informal sobre a Literacia for the Media is “Digital Transition and Public Policy”.

In the panel ‘Media Literacy: Challenges for Public Policies’, moderated by Pedro Braumann, there were also the Minister of Education, João Costa, the commissioner of the National Reading Plan, Regina Duarte, and the information director of Lusa, Luísa Meireles .

During the nearly two hours of debate, literacy and the new National Plan for Media Literacy, which the Minister of Culture, Pedro Adão e Silva said on Friday, will be created by the end of the first semester, were elements- key.

Regina Duarte pointed out that media literacy – and all other forms – could receive contributions from the National Reading Plan, since they are inseparable from reading skills.

Thus, he referred to the results of the PISA tests – International Student Assessment Program, benchmarking tests and national exams, which show that students in Portugal “have a lot of difficulty with more complex reading skills”.

“Our students are able to understand explicit information in the text, information that is easily located, which is on the surface of the text”, but “when it comes to making inferences, even direct ones, they are no longer able to and fail in reading skills that have to do with information evaluation, with comparison, with interpretation”, pointed out the PNL commissioner.

“If our students leave school without being able to assess information, without being able to interpret, without being able to analyse information, they won’t necessarily have media literacy skills, but they won’t have others either”, warned Regina Duarte.

The Minister of Education noted that “difficulties in extensive reading were detected and that students gave up at the first reading difficulty”.

“We transpose this to the relationship with the media and what does that mean? It means a great vulnerability to manipulation, because we cannot distinguish what is factual from what is opinionated”, he added, referring to the practice of “reading only the title and not reading extensively”.

João Costa added that the curriculum reform that began in 2016 and 2017 included “dimensions such as critical thinking, creative thinking, problem solving, autonomy and the responsibility associated with this autonomy” as essential skills to be developed throughout of schooling.

In this sense, he referred that media literacy is something that can be achieved with work developed in all curricular areas and went back to the covid-19 pandemic.

“If we think about the area of ​​science and what the rain of madness on social networks was at the time of the pandemic, it is enough to have knowledge of science to realize that a virus cannot be killed with bleach, that masks do not go beyond I don’t know what from 5G and things of that nature, just to name the craziest examples”, he said, adding that this involves scientific knowledge and the development of skills in the disciplines of Portuguese, history and philosophy.

The panel members considered that the lack of media literacy could be a contributing factor to a proliferation of misinformation, with Luísa Meireles adding another variable: the lack of local media.

“According to the Media Trust Lab, which is a project of the University of Beira Interior, 53.9%, that is, 54% of the 308 Portuguese municipalities are in a situation of total news desert. This means that they do not have any media of their own that produces news or [are] in a fragile situation”, he said.

“If we think about it, this is our reality, and it is a reality conducive to misinformation”, pointed out Lusa’s director of information.



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Construction of Thermal Tunnel to study behaviour of large fires


Porto, Apr 23, 2023 (Lusa) – The specialist who studied the fires of 2017, Domingos Xavier Viegas, warned today that, despite the occurrence of large fires being more “probable” in the Centre and North regions of Portugal, these phenomena can happen “everywhere”.

“Our experience shows that they can occur practically everywhere. In the regions of Central and Northern Portugal, where the topography is more complex and the vegetation is more prone to fires, it is more likely, but we have already seen large fires in regions where, at the outset, it was not expected”, warned the researcher from the Coimbra University.

Recognizing that the country has learned some lessons from the fires of 2017, in which 114 people died, the specialist who was part of the Independent Technical Observatory and coordinated the studies requested by the Government on those fires considers, however, that it has not been “enough”, guessing “a long way to go”.

“From a scientific point of view, studying them and understanding them is better. Then, of course, preparing the operational community to face it – above all to do it safely – and, finally, to prevent and sensitize the population to, in its occurrence, avoid panic situations and last-minute escape attempts, as happened in Pedrógão Grande that caused loss of life”, he said

Four months later, on October 15, already after the so-called critical fire season, the worst day of the year in terms of the number of fires was recorded, with more than 500, with the flames reaching 27 municipalities in the Centre region in particular and causing 51 deaths. . In this case, more than a third of the fatal victims died at home, with many of them having been caught by fire while they were sleeping.

In an effort to better understand phenomena such as what happened in Pedrógão Grande, the Centre for Studies on Forest Fires (CEIF) at the University of Coimbra (UC) is building a thermal tunnel, whose assembly, said its coordinator, Xavier Viegas, is in advanced stage.

“We hope to run tests later this month. We are very hopeful that it will be equipment that will allow the study of processes [namely large fires] that are still poorly understood by the scientific community and also by the operational community exactly about the role of the vertical stability of the atmosphere in the propagation of fire”, he explained.

It is the conviction of the UC researcher that the importance given to the role played by the atmosphere is “exaggerated”, insofar as – mainly in large fires – there is sometimes the “development of a very strong convection – produced by the fire – and that, eventually, if there is an unstable atmosphere, it can potentiate it”.

With this equipment, the forest fire specialist hopes not only to understand fundamental aspects of fire behaviour, but also to contribute to the training of firefighters and civil protection agents to fight major fires, such as the one that broke out last year in Parque Natural from Serra da Estrela and spread between the 5th and the 23rd of August.

Classified as the 6th largest to occur in Portugal, since there are records, the fire reached 22 parishes, six municipalities, having consumed a total of 22 hectares in the Natural Park of Serra da Estrela.

In that fire, which “fortunately” did not have the proportions observed in Pedrógão, as in others that occurred last year, explains Xavier Viegas, it was possible to identify “situations of fronts meeting that produced a very large acceleration”, as is an example, from the fire in July 2022, in Murça, where a man and a woman, aged around 70, died when they tried to flee the fire by car.

“The accident was preceded by a meeting of two fire fronts which led to the fire spreading very quickly. In Serra da Estrela the same thing”, he indicated, stressing that “interaction with the atmosphere does not always play a fundamental role”, as happened in Pedrógão, where the thunderstorm influenced the behaviour of the fire.



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More than 7 thousand hectares have burned in Portugal since the beginning of the year


In the first 11 days of April, 43 hectares more burned than in the entire same month in 2022. The most frequent causes of fires in 2023 so far are burns.

Portugal has already recorded more than 7,000 hectares (ha) of burned area due to forest fires in 2023, according to provisional data from the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF) released this Thursday.

ICNF data are recorded from January 1 to last Tuesday and indicate that, out of a total of 1,971 rural fires, 7,366 ha of burned area resulted, including settlements (1,826 ha), bushes (5,454 ha) and agriculture (86 ha).

Comparing this year’s figures with those of the last 10 years, the ICNF points out that more than 12% of rural fires and more than 48% of burned area were recorded in relation to the annual average for the period.

“The year 2023 presents, until April 11, the 5th highest value in number of fires and the 5th highest value of burned area since 2013”, reads in the report.

In just 11 days in April, 43 ha more burned than in the entire same month last year.

In April of this year, until last Tuesday, 1,208 ha were burned, while in the same month – in 30 days – for the last year, 1,165 ha of burned area were registered.

Removing April from the equation, in the first three months of the year, 6,158 ha of burned areas were counted, 1,986 ha less than those verified in 2022 in the same period.

The ICNF explains that 73% of all rural fires that have occurred so far in 2023 are small, with a burned area of ​​less than 1 ha.

So far, February is the month with the highest number of rural fires, with a total of 1,025 fires, corresponding to 52% of the total number recorded in the year.

February is also the month with the largest burned area, with a total of 5,200 ha burned, which is equivalent to 71% of the total burned area in 2023.

Regarding the larger fires, the body that ensures the implementation of policies for the conservation of nature and forests found 13 fires with a burned area of ​​between 100 and 1,000 ha.

“Until April 11, 2023, there were 12 fires falling under this category, which resulted in 1,898 hectares of burned area, about 26% of the total burned area”, he highlights.

Of the total of 1,971 rural fires that occurred this year, 1,264 were investigated and have the cause investigation process completed – 64% of the total number of fires responsible for 79% of the total burned area.

According to the ICNF, the most frequent causes of fires in 2023 are burning for pasture management for cattle (30%) and burning of forest or agricultural remnants (28%).

“Together, the various types of fires and burns represent 79% of the total causes determined. Rekindles represent 3% of the total number of causes investigated”, he underlines.

Analysing by district, the ICNF highlighted Porto (319), Braga (314) and Viana do Castelo as the ones with the highest number of fires, indicating that “they are mostly small in size”, not exceeding one hectare of burned area.

In relation to the district of Porto, the percentage of fires with less than one hectare of burned area is 87%.

With regard to the burned area, the most affected district is Braga with 2,258 ha, about 31% of the total burned area, followed by Vila Real with 1,702 hectares (23% of the total) and Viana do Castelo with 1,361 hectares (18% of the total).

Examining the meteorological severity, the ICNF reached a total value of “weighted burned area” this year of 4,618 ha, translating the “total burned area that would be obtained if all fires followed the historical average ‘behaviour’ in view of the meteorological severity of the day /place where they occurred”.

The real burned area value of 7,366 ha corresponds to 160% of the “weighted burned area”, which means that the burned area this year is “considerably higher than the ‘expected’ burned area taking into account the meteorological severity verified”.




Safe Communities Presentation at the 7th National Meeting of Resilent Cities and Towns

This meeting held on 12th and 13th January in Odemira, is an annual meeting that brings together technicians and officials of public entities that manage the territories in the field of security and civil protection and climate change adaptation, as well as researchers from the academic environment. Those attending on this occasion were from as far away as Porto, Vila Real, Castro Marim and Funchal, Madeira.

The opening session was attended by the Secretary of State for Civil Protection, Patricia Gaspar, and the President of the Municipal Council of Odemira, Hélder Guerreiro. Also attended by the National Director of Risk Prevention and Management, Carlos Mendes, and the Regional Commander Civil Protection of the Alentejo, Jose Guilherme.

Topics such as Resilient Cities, the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, current and future impacts of Climate Change, the new paradigm of the fire risk management model in case of fires extremes, the challenge of accumulation of services between the Municipal Civil Protection Service and the Municipal Police, the implementation and dynamics of the Integrated Operations Centre, the implementation of the Local Platform for Reduction of Disaster Risk, Tsunami Warning Systems, Management of inclusiveness in the context of emergencies, planning and preparation of Population Support Concentration Areas or Local Civil Protection Units / Neighbourhoods.

David Thomas President of SCP presented the role of Safe Communities Portugal concerning matters of Civil Protection in Portugal, featuring its work in helping to create risk awareness and preparedness and the tracking of major incidents. He also covered the approach dealing with vulnerable communities and the main features of its website and growth and coverage of the SCP Facebook page, as well as the latest Northern and Centre Situation alerts page. The presentation was well received by the audience numbering around 120.

Odemira Municipality was recognized by the UN as a “Resilient City” in December 2021, joining the more than 40 municipalities from Portugal that are part of this network.

The Resilient Cities and Villages Network is geared towards local disaster risk reduction and city resilience, through a campaign launched by the United Nations in 2010.

Presentation here: 7º Encontro de Cidades e Vilas Resilientes – 2023 Presentation Odemira Safe Communities Portugal

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Porto, Braga, Aveiro, Vila Real and Lisbon – Criminal Marketing network dismantled nearly 2.5 million cigarettes seized.


Between February 28th and March 6th, the Fiscal Action Unit (UAF) dismantled a criminal network dedicated to the illicit distribution and sale of tobacco and seized more than 2,450,948 cigarettes in the districts of Porto, Braga, Aveiro, Vila Real and Lisbon.

As part of an investigation into a criminal network dedicated to the illicit distribution and sale of tobacco, which had been going on for about a year and which had the collaboration of the Guardia Civil of Spain and the operational support of EUROPOL, the Guard carried out steps that made it possible to determine that the highly organized group is responsible for evading taxes, in terms of Special Consumption Tax (IEC) and VAT, which will exceed 3.5 million euros.

The Guard’s military found that cigarettes and other tobacco products, originating from marginal smuggling circuits with branches in Spain, were transported to national territory and temporarily stored in places, being later sold directly to consumers or distributed in commercial establishments and restaurants in the districts of Porto, Braga, Aveiro, Vila Real and Lisbon.

The culmination of this investigation, which focused on the crimes of fraudulent introduction into qualified consumption, tax fraud, criminal association and counterfeiting, imitation and illegal use of trademarks, took place over the last week through the execution of 68 search warrants, 37 domicile and 31 non-domestic warrants, namely in vehicles, commercial establishments and catering and beverage establishments and warehouses.

Following the action, four suspects aged between 53 and 65 years, were arrested and the constitution of 12 defendants aged between 52 and 69 years.

The following seizures were made:

  • 2,450,948 cigarettes, corresponding to approximately 122,548 packs of cigarettes; 107,694 kilos of shredded tobacco; 92,300 tubes for filling cigarettes;
  • 45,115 euros in cash;
  • 25 mobile phones; Nine light vehicles; Two firearms; Various ammunition of different calibres; Diverse explosive material (detonating cord, gunpowder, detonators, explosive charges and other material used in pyrotechnic activity) and documentation with probative relevance to the investigation.

The detainees were present for the first judicial interrogation, at the Central Department of Investigation and Penal Action (DCIAP) in Lisbon, having been applied the coercive measures of obligation of biweekly presentations at the police station in the area of residence and prohibition of contacts with the targeted in the investigation, and one of the suspects was also banned from leaving the country.

During the investigation, which has been going on for about a year, a total of 6,520,522 cigarettes and 399 Kg of tobacco leaf and ground tobacco had already been seized in the national territory, and 3 men, aged between 55 and 64 years old, with 2 of them being applied, in November 2022, the coercive measure of pre-trial detention.

During the operation, 126 soldiers belonging to the Fiscal Action Unit (UAF), the Intervention Unit (UI) and the Territorial Commands of Porto, Braga and Vila Real were engaged, including dog units to detect tobacco and paper money.

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Nearly 10,000 crimes, 17 arrests and 18,690 administrative offenses issued for abandonment and mistreatment of animals in five years


Lisbon, Jan 31, 2023 (Lusa) – The police have arrested 17 people for abandoning or mistreating pets and have registered almost 10,000 crimes in the last five years, together with 18,690 administrative offences issues reveals data sent to Lusa by the PSP and GNR.

The 17 arrests were made, between 2018 and 2022, by the Public Security Police, which arrested 15 people for mistreatment and two for abandoning pets.

The year with the most arrests for mistreatment of companion animals was 2021, when there were six, followed by 2019 and 2022, with four each, and in 2018 one person was arrested.

The PSP indicates that the arrests for abandoning animals were made in 2019 and 2020, with one in each year.

Data sent to the Lusa agency indicate that the PSP and the National Republican Guard recorded 9,732 crimes for abandonment or mistreatment of animals between 2018 and 2022.

The PSP also reports that, in five years, it recorded 1,615 crimes of animal abandonment and 2,278 for situations of mistreatment, in a total of 4,402.

While the GNR accounted for 5,330 crimes, 3,385 of which were for mistreatment of animals and 1,945 for abandonment, with this type of crime recorded in 2022 the highest value in the last five years.

The GNR recorded 1,195 crimes for abandonment and mistreatment of pets last year, 1,008 in 2021, 1,030 in 2020, 1,089 in 2019, and 1,008 in 2018.

The PSP, on the other hand, registered a decrease in 2020 and 2021 due to the covid-19 pandemic, having increased again in 2022. Last year, the PSP counted 865 crimes, in 2021 there were 833, in 2020 there were 801, in 2019 there were 952 and in 2018 there were 951.

The GNR also reports that it raised 18,690 administrative offenses for this offense in the last five years, with the highest number in 2018 (5,393), followed by 2019 (5,107), 2022 (3,357), 2020 (2,587) and 2021 (2,246).

This security force refers that the crimes of mistreatment are provided for in the Penal Code and the facts are communicated to the Public Ministry and the offenders identified.

According to the GNR, dogs are the animals that register the highest incidence of abuse and abandonment and generally the collected animals are delivered to the official collection centers (CRO) under municipal or intermunicipal management, and are also delivered, on certain occasions, to other associations.

The GNR also receives complaints, which can be made through the SOS Ambiente e Território line 808 200 520, (Serviços/SOS Ambiente) or by email , having registered 20,823 complaints between 2018 and 2022 , after increasing every year.

The PSP also has an Animal Defence Line ( ) to receive complaints, having registered 12,175 complaints in the last five years, in a growing trend. This line received 2,149 complaints in 2018, 2,278 in 2019, 2,362 in 2020, 2,462 in 2021 and 2,924 last year.

The PSP states that these complaints include not only criminal situations of abandonment and mistreatment, but all occurrences related to the welfare of the animal and suspicious situations that subsequently require inspection and investigation by the police.

The most common complaints that reach the PSP through this line are complaints from neighbours about the dogs that are barking on the balcony, the patio that is dirty and has an unpleasant odour, the owners who are absent without leaving water or food for the animals, walking the dog without a leash and the aggressiveness of animals.

Mistreatment of companion animals has been a crime since 2014 and several people have already been convicted in the first instance.

However, the Constitutional Court has already annulled these convictions on the grounds that they lack constitutional coverage.

Recently, the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Constitutional Court asked for the declaration of unconstitutionality of the norm that criminalizes with a fine or imprisonment anyone who, without legitimate reason, kills or mistreats pets.










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GOOD WORK FROM THE SPMS (Shared Services of the Ministry of Health) USING SMS for VACCINATION SCHEDULING

More than 78 million messages (SMS), exclusively scheduling for vaccination of users eligible for vaccination against covid-19, have been sent in the last two years, the Ministry of Health indicated this Sunday.

In a statement, the Shared Services of the Ministry of Health (SPMS) recall that the first call for the covid-19 vaccine, through messages (SMS) from number 2424, was sent on January 29, 2021.

“In these two years, more than 78 million SMS, exclusively for scheduling, were sent to users eligible for vaccination at each stage of the process,” say SPMS, stressing that the SMS call represented “a great technological advance”.

In the most critical period of the pandemic, the scheduling functionality was being progressively made available to the health units of the country, making the SMS number 2424 the preferred form of call for vaccination.

“For scheduling, the contacts used are those contained in the National Register of Users (RNU) of the National Health Service, which provides centralized information to all information systems,” the SPMS also explained.

According to the SPMS, in addition to scheduling, other messages related to the covid-19 vaccination process have been sent over the last two years, translating into about 111 million SMS.

“Currently, it is possible to carry out the self-scheduling of the vaccine through the SNS 24 Portal, giving the possibility of choosing the most convenient day and place,” explains the SPMS.

The experience of vaccination – emphasizes the SPMS – showed how “a simple and democratic system, such as SMS, can be highly effective in convening users”.

For this same reason, this system has meanwhile been extended to the call for other acts, such as screenings, allowing greater speed in contact with the population, the entity concludes.