Mexico will have a new 10,000-member security force that will be deployed to regions of the country where violence and instability are greatest, President Enrique Peña Nieto said Monday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The president said at a meeting of the National Public Security Council that the force would consist of 10,000 members to start, although he did not say when it would be created. For the moment, the military will remain in the streets in an effort to maintain order, and the federal police will add 15 units focusing solely on kidnapping and extortion, Peña Nieto says.
He pledged during his election campaign to create the security force as a way to differentiate his strategy from that of former President Felipe Calderon, whose aggressive war against drug-trafficking organizations resulted in tens of thousands of deaths, the article says.
Peña Nieto has promised to focus on reducing the violence that affects average citizens, while his government downplays the struggle against drug trafficking and focuses more on economic matters, the article says.
While Calderon spent millions trying to strengthen and clean up the police force – increasing salaries and adding thousands of officers – recent attacks have raised questions about the trustworthiness of the 36,000-member force, the article reports. Peña Nieto has essentially demoted the federal police in government restructuring, and the new security force, which will be referred to as a gendarmerie, will draw in part on former federal officers who lose their jobs in the shake-up, LA Times reports.
The advisor says the gendarmerie would be primarily responsible for basic law enforcement duties such as patrolling roads and cities, while the federal police would focus more on investigations, the article says.
The separation of tasks is aimed at reducing the potential for corruption that arises when the same officials are in charge of both patrolling and arresting and then building the legal case, the advisor noted.
However, some others – such as Alejandro Hope, security director of the Mexican Competitiveness Institute – worry that interagency squabbling would be likely. He also expressed concern about the time it would take to create the force when Mexico faces so many immediate challenges, the article says.