Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

UK Action Fraud under investigation: victims misled and mocked as police fail to investigate

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

Call handlers working for the police insult victims of fraud and have been trained to mislead them into thinking their cases will be investigated when most are never looked at again. Report by The Times

An undercover Times reporter was among staff who were banned from telling victims that the overwhelming majority of their cases are dismissed, either by low-wage employees at an outsourced call centre or a computer algorithm.

Managers in charge of collating police fraud reports also mocked those who lost money as “morons”, “screwballs” and “psychos”.

As online and cold calling-scams surge, increasing numbers of people are losing to fraud. Last year there were an estimated 3.6 million incidents, more than a third of all crimes in England and Wales.

The Home Secretary has demanded a review of Action Fraud’s performance after an undercover reporter found training cut short, managers referring to victims as ‘morons’ and staff acting unprofessionally in the call centre and on social media.

The City of London Police has launched an investigation into the investigative article’s findings published in The Times newspaper on Thursday (August 15).

Its reporter obtained a job at Action Fraud’s Scottish call centre, outsourced to US firm Concentrix by City of London Police, using his own name.

Covert footage shows inexperienced call handlers, allegedly as young as 16, taking victims’ reports after only two weeks of training.

Call centre managers mocked police interest in the reports and posted unprofessional comments on their personal social media accounts. One individual claimed to be drunk while at work.

They also called victims “morons”, “screwballs” and “psychos” for falling for scams.

Training Manager Michael Rodgers is seen telling staff not to tell victims how their report is assessed or how it is classified.

“Never disclose there’s a scoring system. Could you imagine having that conversation with somebody where you say that’s not going to score high enough so you’re kind of wasting your time,” he said.

He was also accused of cutting short the training call handlers receive.

The Times said it carried out the undercover investigation after hearing of concerns that reports to Action Fraud were not being investigated.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has written to the City of London Police Commissioner expressing her concerns over allegations made in the article.

 

Four staff members have been suspended by Concentrix as it launched its own internal investigation.

Commander Karen Baxter is leading the City of London Police review of allegations made by the undercover reporter.

She said: “The incidents he describes do not represent the standards of work and ethics we expect from anyone associated with the City of London Police. We will be carrying out an immediate examination of standards and requiring our agents to do the same.

“It is important to emphasise that we know that the vast majority of the staff who work for Action Fraud do a good job in sometimes difficult circumstances, and we would not want this to deter members of the public from coming forward and reporting fraud.”

Action Fraud was transferred to the City of London Police in 2014.

Speaking to Police Professional earlier this month Ms Baxter described it as “not perfect but the envy of the rest of the world”.

A Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services thematic report, published in March this year, said fraud is not a priority for any law enforcement agency outside of those with a responsibility to investigate it at a national level.

Ms Baxter says forces do not have the resources to investigate all reports referred to them. She said: “Fraud is a disgusting, horrible type of crime that permeates the worst end of criminality. The harm it causes is significant, it needs to be seen alongside child exploitation and the level of harm caused by drugs and firearms.”

She said the inspection was helpful in raising the issue up the political and policing agendabut chief constables currently face the stark choice of whether officers will investigate a burglary, weapon, human trafficking or fraud.

Reports from the public and businesses have grown to over 900,000 in the last year. However, the Crime Survey of England and Wales shows fraud is massively under-reported. It showed it is the most common crime experienced by individuals, with 3.6 million offences committed against members of the public each year.

 

The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners’ (APCC) Fraud Lead, PCC Clive Grunshaw, and Deputy Fraud Lead, PCC Anthony Stansfeld, said: “Speaking on behalf of all Police and Crime Commissioner colleagues, we are deeply concerned by the content of The Times report on failings in Action Fraud. Victim care should be at the very heart of a whole system approach to combat this vile crime, whereby criminals often target the most vulnerable in our communities.

 

“The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners support the recommendations from the recent HMICFRS thematic inspection of fraud, particularly in relation to Action Fraud and wider victim care. We will be seeking assurances from the City of London Police that the recommendations are being urgently progressed and the allegations in this report are being properly investigated.”

 

Ryan Air strike enters its first day

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

Aug 2019 (Lusa) – Ryanair crew members begin a five-day strike until Sunday, called by the National Civil Aviation Flight Personnel Union (SNPVAC) and which has minimum services enacted by the Government.

On Tuesday, Ryanair said it did not expect “significant disruption” from the strike, but pointed out that it could not “rule out some delays” or changes in flights.

“Passengers who have not received an ’email’ or message can expect their flights to and from Portugal to take place normally this week,” the company said.

In the meantime, given that there was no agreement between Ryanair and the union, the Portuguese Government has enacted minimum services to be performed during the strike, covering not only the Azores and Madeira, but also the European cities of Berlin, Cologne, London and Paris.

NOTE: A check of Ryanair flights this morning 21st August show up to 0900 hrs all have departed at normal from Faro, Lisbon and Porto.

Read more

Thus, the minimum services include a daily round trip flight between Lisbon and Paris; between Lisbon and Berlin; between Porto and Cologne; between Lisbon and London; between Lisbon and Ponta Delgada, as well as a round-trip connection between Lisbon and Terceira Island (Lajes) today, Friday and Sunday.

SNPVAC criticized this decision and “vehemently repudiated” the minimum services and the Government’s rationale for imposing them.

In a statement, the union said it “vehemently repudiates yet another attempt by the government to annihilate the right to strike of the Portuguese and, in particular, Ryanair’s crew”, ensuring that it does not accept “defending the economic interests of a private company and to the detriment of the rights of Portuguese workers.

On August 9, the union reported that the airline had sent crew members an ‘online’ questionnaire to see if they would participate in the shutdown.

 

 

Allegations of SEF services being sold on the internet.

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

Case has already been reported to the Public Prosecution Service

Aliens and Borders Service awaits the “rapid clearance of responsibilities”.

The Aliens and Borders Service (SEF) announced today that it has filed a complaint with the prosecutor of evidence of a crime of aiding illegal immigration due to the alleged sale of service slots on classified ad portals.

The entry was presented in May, pending SEF’s “quick clearance of responsibilities” following reports that “service vacancies were allegedly being sold through online classified ad sites.”

In a statement, the SEF referred to the “misuse” of the Automatic Scheduling System (SAPA) through computer systems (called ‘bots’ that simulate actions on a computer) and’ well-founded suspicions of catching vacancies by individuals, based on service package ‘orders’ which include scheduling and order preparation for the SEF “.

According to the Aliens and Borders Service, there was “an abnormal volume of access to the SAPA scheduling system”, namely on April 26 and May 8, “after the release of 2,000 appointment vacancies”, which were filled in a short period of time.

In view of this, SEF decided to make vacancies available on the booking computer system and to activate the “reCAPTCHA” (dialog box system) functionality on the SAPA portal authentication page, regretting “the disturbances and the constraints” in the bookings made to users.

 

HAZARDOUS GOODS VEHICLE DRIVERS STRIKE CALLED OFF

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

SUNDAY 18TH AT 20.00 HRS

The National Union of Hazardous Drivers (SNMMP) announced this afternoon that it has decided to call off the strike that began last Monday.

The decision announced by SNMMP president Francisco São Bento and was taken during a plenary of union workers, which took place this afternoon in Aveiras de Cima and lasted about three hours.

The stoppage, which began on Monday, the 12th, was initially called by SNMMP and the Independent Drivers Union (SIMM), but the latter called off the protest on Thursday evening following a meeting with ANTRAM under mediation. Government.

“The conditions are in place for us to negotiate with Antram, it was decided today to call off the strike,” Pedro Pardal Henriques told reporters on Sunday at 1940 hrs after the end of the plenary session of the National Union of Hazardous Drivers (SNMMP), which on the seventh day of the standstill was gathered in Aveiras de Cima.

Seven fishermen saved after four days drifting in Madeira

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

Navy and Air Force rescue tuna crew that sank early Wednesday morning.

“The boat was hit by a wave, the water got in the boat and it sank. It was all of a sudden, we didn’t have time to trigger the alerts. The sea was very strong. In 43 years of experience, nothing like this ever happened to me. ”

This is how Master Gregory recalls the moments that led to the sinking of the ‘Setemar’ and left seven drifting fishermen for four days and three nights off Madeira. They were saved this Saturday afternoon when a tragedy was already in sight, after a Navy and Air Force operation located the ferry that allowed them to survive to tell the story.

The seven fishermen, aged 23 to 61, who had set sail for tuna fishing late Tuesday afternoon, were found early Saturday afternoon by an Air Force aircraft that had been mobilized for the search. . Quickly, two Navy vessels that were in the same operation were directed to the location, 40 kms from the point where they had last made the communication.

The warning was given on Friday by the vessel’s owner, who informed the Funchal port commander that ‘Setemar’ had not communicated for two days. The Navy sent an ocean patrol and a speedboat to the area, but due to the lack of results and the increased search area, an Air Force C295 from Porto Santo was fired.

“We’re fine and that’s what matters,” says master Gregory, who always believed they would be saved.

Spanish and Portuguese police dismantle cocaine trafficking network

Friday, August 16th, 2019

Madrid, 16 Aug 2019 (Lusa) – A joint operation by the Spanish Civil Guard, the Judiciary Police and the GNR dismantled a drug trafficking network aimed at trafficking cocaine into the two countries, detaining a total of 14 people.

According to the Spanish news agency EFE, the drug would be brought in by sea using a vessel trailer that appeared empty, but at the time it was equipped with a sophisticated hydraulic system that could carry more than 300 kilograms.

According to the Civil Guard, the so-called Operation Mansalva resulted in the arrest of 14 people, 11 in Pontevedra, two in Valencia and one in Portugal.

In addition, the operation was able to seize almost half a ton of cocaine (475 kilos).

According to the same source, the investigations have prevented the delivery of more than 300 kilograms of cocaine in Spain, which was being transported from Galicia to Valencia.

The police operation also prevented the entry into Portugal of 175 kilos of cocaine, which was being transported from the province of Pontevedra to the centre of the country.

The Judiciary Police of Porto and the Republican National Guard (GNR) carried out this operation near Coimbra and detained the person carrying the drug.

Police explained that the criminal network had “very advanced contacts and preparations” to introduce a new drug shipment to Galicia by sea from South America, but they could not carry out the operation because all members of that criminal organization were arrested.

Police also seized 12,000 euros in cash, 12 satellite phones, four double-bottomed vehicles and a trailer.

The guard also discovered a marijuana plantation with a thousand plants.

Investigations began, according to the Civil Guard, a year ago, when officers learned of a Pontevedra-based criminal group of people with a history of drug trafficking.

The operation is accompanied by the Quart de Poblet investigative courts and coordinated by the prosecution offices of Valencia and Pontevedra, with the police system having organized crime specialists from Galicia, Alicante, Pontevedra and Cadiz.

Eleven Russians accused of drug trafficking and criminal association in Cape Verde’s biggest drug bust

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

The freighter carrying the drug from South America was destined for the northern city of Tangier.

The Cape Verdean prosecutor charged 11 Russian citizens arrested in January in a freighter in the port of Praia with almost ten tons of cocaine on board accused of aggravated narcotics trafficking and criminal association crimes.

According to a statement issued today by the Cape Verde Attorney General’s Office (PGR), concerned “operation ESER”, which on January 31 led to the largest drug seizure in the country, detected on a flag cargo ship of the Panama (named “ESER”) which docked at the port of Praia carrying 9.57 tonnes of “high purity” cocaine, incinerated by the authorities days later.

According to the statement, after completing all due diligence, the Public Prosecution Service completed  he investigation on July 29, filing a complaint and requesting judgment in a joint proceeding and with the intervention of the Collective Court.

The 11 people arrested since January and “who, at the time of the facts, were serving on the ship” are charged. They are “strongly indicted” of the commission of a drug trafficking offense aggravated by material co-authoring and royal competition with a crime of membership of the criminal association.

It was also requested that all objects, goods and products seized as part of the operation be declared as “lost to the State”, as soon as the 100-meter-long freighter “ESER” with a total weight of 3,800 tonnes and mobile phones, laptops, satellite telephones and GPS equipment, “because they were used to commit the crime in question”.

 

Hazardous vehicles drive’ strike

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

The government approved Tuesday 13th  August the civil requirement of drivers of hazardous materials, which will be applied gradually. Initially in only affects the southern areas (Photo courtesy Antonio Cotria – Lusa)

General civil requisition is not out of the question, it depends on the duration of the strike and the fulfilment of minimum services.

According to data from the National Entity for the Energy Sector, at 8:00 am on Tuesday, the 13th, the 22 stations of the Special Network of Gas Station (REPA) of the Algarve had only 20.6% of the total gasoline stock and 21.6% diesel.

In Beja, the volume was 27.9% (gasoline) and 21.2% (diesel) in the 11 REPA stations. Data for these two districts – Faro and Beja – are very low compared to those in the rest of the country.

CIVIL REQUISITION

Secretary of State for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Tiago Antunes, said that the resolution will be complemented by two ordinances: “One will focus on civil requisition only in the areas and services where, to date, non-compliance with minimum services has been identified; the other will establish the terms in which the intervention of the Armed Forces under this civil requisition will take place. In all there will be 120 military personnel, including drivers and helpers.

Tiago Antunes pointed out that the non-fulfilment of minimum services has already been verified, “supplying the southern part of the country from Sines, supplying REPA, supplying airports and supplying autonomous natural gas units”.

Pedro Pardal Henriques, spokesman for the Hazardous Drivers’ Union (SNMMP), in Aveiras de Cima, Lisbon sated that all drivers of hazardous goods vehicles are working, this Tuesday, the second day of strike and the first in which civil requisition has ken effect.

Despite this, Pardal Henriques believes that “gradually, the gas stations will be empty”.

Although “this morning everything is going smoothly,” the GNR military continues to escort the tanker trucks leaving the various locations to fill the stations, a source at Lusa .

The drivers are today completing the second day of an indefinite strike with the aim of demanding from ANTRAM compliance with the agreement signed in May, which provides for a wage increase

EASYJET STATEMENT

Due to the strike EasyJet issued a warning this evening that “some flights to and from Portugal may require additional technical stops to refuel at alternative airports. It also advised passengers traveling to and from Portugal to check the status of their flight as well as to travel to national airports with “extra time” due to the driver’s strike.

 

Some Tips During the Fuel Crisis

Sunday, August 11th, 2019

The Minister of Internal Administration yesterday advised motorists where possible to only make “indispensable” (essential) journeys during the strike period.

Safe Communities has produced the following tips (some obvious) to help motorists during this period;

Generally

  • Use public transport where possible
  • Refer to gas station fuel supply maps to check which stations have supplies
  • Car-pooling – if you know someone taking a similar journey
  • Efficient planning of appointments – try and schedule your diary to the lowest travel distance
  • Drive efficiently – use less fuel
  • Ask your employer, if appropriate, if you can work from home
  • Already scheduled appointments try to reschedule to another date.
  • If longer journeys are essential – use route calculator to show most efficient use in the use of fuel

Fuel

  • At fuel stations please follow directions of police who may be manging congestion
  • Advice is not to use Jerry cans which can be unsafe if not transported properly. If you do they must be approved for this purpose.
  • For tourists – Please allow sufficient fuel and time if you need to get fuel before returning your car.
  • Remember cars are restricted to 15 litres
  • Note that some fuel stations only have fuel supply for emergency vehicles – do not try and use these as they cannot serve you.

Parking

  • When parking overnight in particular, please lock your car to deter fuel theft.

For tourists

  • For tourists check with airports to see if there is any disruption. They are essential services and a 100% minimum supply has been designated.

Health

  • If you are taking any medication which may finish during the strike period, ensure you have sufficient to cover the possible period.

 

ANTRAM ACCUSES DRIVERS UNIONS OF FAILING DEADLINE TO ASSIGN WORKERS TO ENSURE MINIMUM FUEL DELIVERIES ARE MET

Sunday, August 11th, 2019

Lisbon, 11 Aug 2019 (Lusa) – The Association of Freight Transporters accuses unions of not meeting the deadline for sending workers to the minimum service levels.

In a statement issued this morning, the National Association of Public Road Hauliers (ANTRAM) indicates that unions should have designated workers to perform minimum services up to 24 hours before the strike begins, which starts at Monday.

“This obligation was breached by the unions once again, contrary to what they said they would do throughout the media during yesterday [Saturday],” writes ANTRAM, in a note sent by André Matias de Almeida, lawyer and Association’s spokesperson.

The Independent Freight Drivers Union (SIMM) and the National Hazardous Goods Drivers Union (SNMMP) decided on Saturday to continue the strike starting indefinitely Monday after a joint plenary session.

For ANTRAM, trade unionists are “doing everything” so that minimum services are NOT met.

“It would be much more efficient for companies to comply if trade unions immediately indicated the workers who were going to do it, as this would contribute to less tension between employers and workers, as companies will now refer workers”, refers to ANTRAM’s note.

Thus, transport companies will assign workers to minimum services, hoping that “it will be possible to contact workers who will be assigned to minimum services”.

The government has enacted minimum services of between 50% and 100%, rationed fuel supplies and declared an energy crisis until 11:59 pm on 21 August, which implies “exceptional measures” to minimize the effects of the shutdown and ensure service provision for essential services such as security forces and medical emergency.