Honduran police officers

Almost 100 officers are set to be purged from the Honduran police force according to reports, though the lengthy process involved in their removal and the slow pace of efforts to tackle corruption so far raise questions about how sincerely the government is addressing the issue.

El Heraldo reported that it had been given access to a list, dated October 22, of 99 officers set to be dismissed from the force, among them 13 commissioners and 11 deputy commissioners.

The process will involve the 99 being relieved of their positions for one year, during which the state will pay their salary as normal. Once the year is up, they can be officially removed from the police force.

Two former police chiefs -- Ricardo Ramirez del Cid and Jose Luis Muñoz Licona -- are also set to be fired upon suggestion of the Security Ministry, reported La Prensa. Though they have already been removed from their positions, the state’s failure to re-assign them means they will also go through the year-long process.

Ramirez replaced Muñoz last October when the latter was removed from his position following the murder of two university students by alleged corrupt officers. Ramirez then lost his job in May when it emerged an ex-policeman was linked to the murder of a journalist.

According to La Prensa, some of the 99 on the list have actually passed confidence tests currently being carried out by DIECP, the investigative body charged with assessing police officials. These tests involve psychological assessments, toxicology tests and a polygraph, and began in late June.  There are also others on the list that have failed the test but were not removed with immediate effect.

InSight Crime Analysis

Honduras arguably has the most notorious police force in the region in terms of corruption and its infiltration by criminal elements.  One congressman claimed last year that up to 40 percent of police had ties to organized crime while a Miami Herald report from January found that police were actively participating in, and sometimes directing, criminal operations for imprisoned gang members.

The Honduran government has taken steps to tackle the problem though progress has been slow to date. The independent Commission on Public Security Reform (CRSP) began work on June 1 with one of its primary goals being reform of the police. According to EFE, however, this has not received the funds it has been promised so far.

The role of DIECP is a welcome initiative to weed out corrupt elements, though this too appears to be moving slowly. The Honduran police force is comprised of over 14,000 officers, presenting DIECP with an enormous task. On top of this, of the tests carried out to date, there have been many instances of officers simply not showing up for their assessment.

The announcement that 99 members are going to be removed from the force suggests the government is combating the issue in earnest to a degree. However, it is puzzling that the removal process is so lengthy if these officers have been found unfit, and that it should still incur a cost on the state for a year. What’s more, the fact that some of the officers have not been submitted to the test points to a possible failure by the government to effectively coordinate operations across institutions when tackling police corruption.

Though Honduras may be the worst in the region for police corruption, it is certainly not alone when it comes to narco-infiltration of the force. In Guatemala, for example, the government announced this week that it would equip police with microchips to track their movements, an initiative apparently driven by the endemic levels of corruption within the force. Also within the last week, one Mexican military commander declared that more than 90 percent of the police in Cancun and Playa del Carmen had ties to organized crime, while the chief of police in Argentina’s Santa Fe province was forced to resign due to an investigation into his alleged links with drug traffickers.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
Prev Next

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

In May 2011, a 26-year-old prison gang leader held 4,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, at bay for weeks. Humiliated nationally and internationally, it pushed President Hugo Chávez into a different and disastrous approach to the prison system.

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.