Nearly 90 percent of Mexico’s citizens view the country’s police as corrupt, according to a new survey that highlights the ongoing failure of police reforms to break the links between security forces and crime.
The newly released 2013 National Survey of Government Quality and Impact (ENCIG – pdf) found 89.7 percent of people perceive corruption to be a common practice within the country’s police force, making it the country’s most corrupt institution in the eyes of respondents. The sampling was composed of 33,000 households in cities of 100,000 or more residents throughout Mexico.
Following the police on the list were the country’s political parties, which 84.4 percent of people felt were corrupt, and the Public Ministry, which scored 78.4 percent (see graph).
In contrast, the army and navy appear to have maintained their comparably good reputation, with only a third of respondents viewing them as corrupt.
Overall, the survey showed an average of 24,724 per 100,000 people had experienced corruption. Participants ranked corruption as the third biggest national concern, after insecurity and crime, and unemployment.
InSight Crime Analysis
Over the past few years, Mexico’s government has invested millions of dollars in reforms designed to cleanse police departments of corrupt elements. However, as the public perceptions highlighted by the survey show, the results have been limited at best.
The corruption of police forces is at its strongest in Mexico’s organized crime hotspots and public confidence in the police has been undermined by regular stories of drug cartels infiltrating and working closely with police.
This year alone media have reported that around half of police taking confidence tests in the troubled northern state of Tamaulipas had failed, and that 3,500 police officers in the state of Veracruz had been removed from duty over the past three years in an effort to break links with organized crime. In November 2013, 700 Michoacan police officers were either fired or demoted for failing confidence tests.
SEE ALSO: Coverage of Police Reform
Police corruption has been one of the main issues driving the use of the military in tackling organized crime, because, as the survey shows, the public generally view the armed forces as less corrupt. However, there have been numerous cases illustrating the military too is far from immune to corruption.