Federal police in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

Eighty percent of Mexican police officers who failed vetting procedures and were found unfit for duty are still employed, according to the government, highlighting the slow pace of police reform in the country.

In a November 6 press conference, Mexico's National Public Security Minister Oscar Vega Marin said that 333,540 of the some 500,000 local, state and federal police officers have been subjected to background checks, lie detector tests and other vetting procedures. Of these, 15 percent -- some 50,000 agents -- failed, yet only 20 percent of them have been dismissed. 

The official said that measures to clean up the police have been seriously delayed, with only six states (Zacatecas, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Guanajuato, Tlaxcala and Colima) carrying the procedures out in full. Vega also identified the four states which have made the least progress in vetting their law enforcement officials: Tamaulipas (which has reviewed 24 percent of its police), Jalisco (23 percent) Chihuahua (21 percent) and Quintana Roo (just 5 percent).

InSight Crime Analysis

These figures fit with previous reports of the slow progress of police reform in Mexico, which is marked by a lack of commitment and political will from local and state authorities. It also telling that three of the states which have made the least progress -- Chihuahua, Tamaulipas and Jalisco -- are among those with the country's highest levels of drug-related violence.

A separate report by security officials, released in August, found that nearly half of the police officers who failed to meet standards were concentrated in just 10 of the country's 32 states

While Mexico has been criticized for the slow pace of police reform, it can be argued that this may be better than rushing the process. Sudden police purges can leave states and municipalities shorthanded, and may provide cartels with a supply of recruits with a dangerous amount of in-depth knowledge about the workings of law enforcement agencies. 

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

As Guatemala's Congress gears up to select new Supreme Court Justices and appellate court judges, InSight Crime is investigating how organized crime influences the selection process. This story details the interests of one particular political bloc vying for control over the courts and what's at stake: millions of ...

The Victory of the Urabeños - The New Face of Colombian Organized Crime

The Victory of the Urabeños - The New Face of Colombian Organized Crime

The mad scramble for criminal power in the aftermath of the demobilization of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) is over. The Urabeños, or as they prefer to call themselves, the "Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia," have won.

50 years of the FARC: War, Drugs and Revolution

50 years of the FARC: War, Drugs and Revolution

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is in sight. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, for themselves and especially for their children, the enemies of the peace negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the ...

Mexico’s Security Dilemma: Michoacan’s Militias

 Mexico’s Security Dilemma: Michoacan’s Militias

Well-armed vigilantes in Mexico's Michoacan state have helped authorities dismantle a powerful criminal organization, but now the government may have a more difficult task: keeping Michoacan safe from the vigilantes and rival criminal groups.

Uruguay, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

Uruguay, Organized Crime and the Politics of Drugs

After the lower house passed the controversial marijuana bill July 31, Uruguay is poised to become the first country on the planet to regulate the production, sale, and distribution of the drug, and provide a model for countries looking for alternatives to the world’s dominant drug policy paradigm. ...

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

The Zetas in Nuevo Laredo

After the capture of Zetas boss "Z40," Nuevo Laredo is bracing itself for the worst. This investigation breaks down what makes the city such an important trafficking corridor, and what it will take for the Zetas to maintain their grip on the city.

El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives And Negatives

El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives And Negatives

Whether it is sustainable or not, the truce -- which the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and the Barrio 18 put into place March 2012 -- has changed the conventional thinking about who the gangs are and what is the best way to handle the most difficult law and order ...

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

The possibility of ending nearly 50 years of civil conflict is in sight. While the vast majority of the Colombian public want to see peace, for themselves and especially for their children, the enemies of the peace negotiations appear to be strong, and the risks inherent in the ...

Corruption in El Salvador: Politicians, Police and Transportistas

Corruption in El Salvador: Politicians, Police and Transportistas

Since the end of El Salvador's civil war, the country's police has become a key player in the underworld. This series of five articles explore the dark ties between criminal organizations and the government's foremost crime fighting institution.

Juarez after the War

Juarez after the War

As a bitter war between rival cartels grinds to an end, Ciudad Juarez has lost the title of world murder capital, and is moving towards something more like normality. InSight Crime looks at the role politicians, police, and for-hire street gangs played in the fighting -- asking who ...