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Ponta Delgada ,  September 06, 2019

Legislation regulating forest police activity in the Azores to be analysed soon by the Council of the Government, announces João Ponte

The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry announced in Ponta Delgada that the Council of the Government will soon analyse the proposal for a decree regulating forest police activity, which is carried out by forest rangers in the Azores.
 
For João Ponte, the regulation of forest police activities involves complex and sensitive aspects, such as the power of authority, the use of force and the possession of weapons, which required a thorough reflection and legal consideration from the Government.
 
The Regional Secretary spoke Thursday on the sidelines of a hearing at the Committee on General Policy regarding the proposal for the Regional Legislative Decree regulating the Legal Scheme applicable to the Forest Police Activity. On the occasion, he stated that initiative submitted by the Social Democratic Party (PSD) contains inaccuracies that lead to its impracticability from a legal perspective.
 
“In fact, PSD proposes the establishment of a forest police career but the forest ranger career is what exists in the Azores,” João Ponte said, adding that by advocating a non-existent career, it calls into question the viability of this legal document.
 
Moreover, the government official stressed that the Region has no competence to legislate in matters such as the use of coercive means and authority, let alone to regulate on the type of weapons that forest rangers may use.
 
"In regard the way that PSD has found to regulate these matters, the Regional Government considers that it goes beyond the powers of the Legislative Assembly and, as such, the proposal will not receive a favourable opinion,” said the Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry. According to him, the establishment of new careers is the sole responsibility of the National Assembly.
 
About the proposed resolution submitted by PSD concerning the establishment of a Forest Police special career in the Azores, the government official considered that the document is inaccurate as far as this matter is already envisioned in the new proposed structure for the Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry.
 
João Ponte noted that the collective bargaining process on the forest ranger career began in August as the matters in question are legally subject to negotiation procedures with the unions.
 
Forest rangers are professionals who play a decisive role in implementing the strategy towards responsible and sustainable forest management since they are on the ground on a daily basis. In fact, they are responsible for monitoring compliance with the legislation in force on forest heritage protection, common land management, protection of rural and forest roads, recreational reserves and game resource management.
 
Additionally, they are in charge of promoting forest awareness-raising actions and surveillance, controlling afforestation procedures, guiding construction and maintenance works on forest roads, managing common pastures and recreational forest reserves, among other tasks.
 
“These professionals have played a key role in the preservation, supervision, defence and exploitation of the Azores forest, among other important responsibilities," stated João Ponte. In this context, the government official recognised that a career review is an extremely important aspect to further qualify this profession and to grant these professionals certain prerogatives that had been withdrawn by the repeal, through Law no.30/2006, to the Regulation on Forest Police Service, which had been in force since 1954.


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Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

 
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