Conflicting Statistics Point to Police Reform Problems in Honduras

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Some 652 Honduran police have been fired in a reform process that began nearly a year ago, according to the government, but conflicting numbers from different state entities makes it difficult to determine how much progress has been made.

As La Tribuna pointed out, the statistics given by the Security Minister Pompeyo Bonilla in testimony before Congress differ from those divulged by the DIECP, the investigative unit tasked with evaluating police officers. According to the DIECP, of the 230 police who failed vetting tests, only seven have been fired.

In his own testimony before Congress earlier this week, DIECP director Eduardo Villanueva blamed the Security Ministry for failing to respond to requests for the removal of officers who failed confidence tests, reported La Prensa.

InSight Crime Analysis

It’s unclear what Bonilla’s sources are for the figure he quoted, especially given the major discrepancy with the DIECP’s numbers. What’s clear is that the inter-agency squabbling and lack of clear statistics are bad signs for the chances of effective police reform in Honduras.

The DIECP was created in 2011 to replace the Internal Affairs Department, the body previously tasked with oversight of the police force. As El Heraldo reported, the new division was designated as an independent body so as to avoid the lack of autonomy that hindered the Internal Affairs Department, which was responsible to the Security Ministry and whose director reported to the police chief. However, the DIECP has undermined its own effectiveness by allowing the National Police to decide which officers must submit to testing.

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