Mexico News Aug.31
Posted by the Generals on September 4, 2011, 8:03 pm
Subject: Mexico News DAILY August 31, 2011 |
LatinNews Daily - 31 August 2011
Local police are Mexico’s weakest link
The recent deployment of 1,500 troops to reinforce the police in Monterrey, Nuevo León, and the earlier dispatch of 226 federal police officers to the Tierra Caliente area of Veracruz are just the most recent and more salient instances of one of Mexico’s most stubborn public security problems: the reluctance of local authorities to upgrade the capabilities and reliability of state and municipal police forces, many of which have been deeply penetrated by the drug gangs.
In a recent report to congress, Federal Public Security Minister Genaro García Luna revealed that his ministry had not yet been able to recruit or train future investigative police officers, a key provision of the May 2010 statutes of the federal police and the reforms to the national public security law. Of the country’s more than 2,000 municipalities, only 68 had made some progress towards implementing the new requirements of the police career and none had met the requirements of the variables aimed at strengthening their police forces.
Not even a third of the municipalities have carried out the mandatory vetting of their police officers, ‘which means that they cannot count on the necessary capabilities to confront crime more efficiently.’
On 9 August the executive secretary of the national public security system (SNSP), Juan Miguel Alcántara, tried to convey a rosier picture by announcing that 84% of the 375 highest-ranking police officers had been vetted by his agency, and that the proportion would soon rise to 91%. He said that only 33 of the top officers had not yet submitted to vetting. Delays, says the SNSP, had been most noticeable among the commanding officers of state preventive police forces.
He did acknowledge, however, that of the 220 municipalities deemed eligible for federal funding for the upgrading of their police forces only 22% are about to receive a second tranche of funds, while funding for 74% had been suspended because of non-fulfilment of requirements; the remainder had either refused the funds, requested a postponement or had approval pending. This year the SNSP had earmarked US$348m to strengthen this group of at-risk municipalities. To put this into perspective, there are 2,022 municipal police forces, of which 52% have at most 20 officers.
García Luna told congress that only 15% of the forces other than the federal police had submitted their personnel to the vetting now required. A month earlier the SNSP had put the figure slightly lower, reporting that only 51,906 police officers had been vetted, slightly over 13% of the total.
According to García Luna, between December 2006 and June 2011 the federal police arrested 68,163 persons caught in the commission of criminal offences. Of these, 2,408 were identified as ‘belonging to one or another of the drug-trafficking cartels’, and of this batch 169 were in the cartels’ command structures. In the same period the authorities arrested 50,121 undocumented persons (presumably illegal migrants).
The Mexican media pounced on another portion of García Luna’s report to run headlines proclaiming that more law-enforcement officers had been killed than drug traffickers captured (just fewer than 20% more). Municipal police officers account for 45% of all law-enforcement personnel killed since December 2006; state officers accounted for another 33%.
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