1.Everyone shall possess the right to freely express and publicise his thoughts in words, images or by any other means, as well as the right to inform others, inform himself and be informed without hindrance or discrimination 2.Exercise of the said rights shall not be hindered or limited by any type or form of censorship Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, Article 37.º

Maddie's Case: The Judiciary Police is paralysed

Correio da Manhã

Carlos Anjos, the president of the Criminal Investigation Officers' Union (ASFIC), says the statements that the PJ's director made about the Maddie case were a mistake. He blames him for the lack of means and the lack of payment of overtime: there are investigations that are doing the minimum services.


What is the ASFIC's position concerning the statements from Alipio Ribeiro about the Maddie case?

CA - To us, the statements that were made by the PJ's national director were a mistake. He should not have spoken about a process that is under investigation, even for reasons of self defense. But since he spoke about precipitation, it would have been convenient to explain what he understands as precipitation. The controversy would not have existed the way it did.

Was the PJ affected?

CA - It is logical that the director's statements came at a cost. But there was one thing that comforted the ASFIC: I did not feel the PJ under attack. The Judiciaria was set aside, and criticism was directed essentially at the author of the statements.

The director was also criticised over wearing the skin of a magistrate.

CA - For most of the time, Dr Alipio Ribeiro referred to the police as "we policemen", and at that point, he said "as a magistrate, I think..." Sincerely, we don't like to see the national director of the police wearing the skin of a magistrate, no matter who he is. We don't ask him to renegate his past, but to be a policeman for the time that he spends in the police.

Do you think that Alipio Ribeiro is independent from the person who nominated him, the Justice Minister and friend Alberto Costa?

CA - All the PJ's directors enter with the tag of governmentalised, and leave with the tag of politically independent. Is there an official post in Portugal that is not nominated by the government? Even the PGR [Public Prosecutor Office] is chosen by the government and nominated by the President... I don't know if the director is a friend of the Justice Minister or not. While he is here, he is logically our director.

Do the serious economical problems of the PJ still stand?

CA - This director has brought in new management practises for the police, with which we do not agree. Earlier, the PJ had no money and no means, now it has money and still no means. 200 vehicles were bought, but they didn't join the existing ones, because approximately 300 vehicles were discarded. The PJ was left with less means, and we are a mobile police force. We face dramatic situations in operational terms.

Is the PJ paralysed?

CA - The PJ is paralysed. We carry out the minimum services. We have a problem with overtime, the members of the police are leaving. When we publish the results of 2007, we will see the operational cost of trying to spare half a dozen euros. The PJ has lost in operational terms, in productivity, and has become more bureaucratic.

(...)

You have been applauded by your public interventions in delicate cases. Would you like to become the PJ's spokesman?

CA - I do not consider that issue as long as I am the president of ASFIC. ASFIC represents the employees of the Polícia Judiciaria, and the PJ must solve that problem in another manner. But a communication department is indispensable and urgent.

Do you defend that the PJ's direction should be occupied by policemen?

CA - We defend the creation of the post of operational director, with a clear vision of criminal investigation, and that post should be occupied by a policeman.

How does it feel to investigate under the new penal laws?

CA _ Difficulties have increased. There has been no reinforcement of means, and the new code is much more demanding. The new laws have brought new things and good things, but the new things are not good, and the good things are not new.

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