Veracruz, Mexico, Fires 980 Police in Corruption Purge

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Authorities in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, Mexico, announced that 980 state police have been dismissed in the last two weeks after failing tests designed to detect corruption.

State public security secretary, Arturo Bermudez Zurita, announced the figures, and said that of the approximately 9,000 members of the Veracruz State Police, approximately a third have undergone confidence testing thus far, reports El Universal.

The confidence tests are intended to root out corrupt and incompetent elements in the force, and include polygraph and drug tests, as well as aptitude, psychological and financial evaluations.

Zurita reiterated his commitment to reforming the state’s police, and said that 479 fully trained and vetted cadets have graduated from the state academy and will soon be put in service. He also discussed policy changes designed to attract and retain more quality police in the state, including salary increases and medical services for family members.

Similar purges of police in the northern state of Nuevo Leon have left that region with a serious shortage of law enforcement, according to reports.

Veracruz has seen a string of disturbances in recent weeks, with President Felipe Calderon warning that the state had been left in the hands of the Zetas drug gang. Thirty-five corpses were abandoned on a city street in broad daylight in September, and federal forces sent to control the violence discovered dozens more bodies at multiple locations in the capital, linked to conflict between the Zetas drug gang and rival groups.

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