HomeNewsBrief$3 Mn Spent in 2 Years on Failing Honduras Police Reform
BRIEF

$3 Mn Spent in 2 Years on Failing Honduras Police Reform

HONDURAS / 16 JAN 2014 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

Almost $3 million has been spent on police reform in Honduras in the past two years, a sum that has brought few results, as highlighted by a recent drug money smuggling case pointing to police complicity.

Honduras has submitted 4,349 police to confidence tests -- including polygraphs, drug tests and psychological assessments -- reported La Prensa. (See La Prensa's graphic illustration below) The results of these tests are disputed. Security Minister Arturo Corrales recently claimed 400 police have been removed from their posts. The newspaper says official statistics show only seven police have been dismissed.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Police Reform

Meanwhile, Honduras' Attorney General Oscar Fernando Chinchilla has ordered a complete investigation and restructuring of the country's Anti-Narcotics Directorate (DLCN). The order came in response to a recent seizure of $7.2 million in drug cash by Panamanian authorities, which was flown into the country from the Toncontin airport in Tegucigalpa. Honduran police and airport staff were thought to have been complicit in the case.

Ruben Martel, the head of the investigation unit of Honduras' National Police, also announced the suspension of 25 agents from the country's border police who were working at the Tegucigalpa airport, bringing the total number of suspended personnel in the case to 32 -- including two anti-narcotics agents, reported La Prensa.honduras police confidence tests graphic

InSight Crime Analysis

In addition to the continued failure to fire Honduran police agents who have failed confidence tests, cases like that in Panama serve as a clear indication that the millions of dollars pumped into police reform have not been used effectively. 

The latest overhaul announced by the attorney general indicates some effort is being made to address the kind of weaknesses that allowed such a large quantity of illicit cash to leave the country. If Chinchilla follows through on his promise, it could help weed out corruption in an important unit of Honduras' police force.

It remains to be seen, though, what will happen under the incoming administration. Juan Orlando Hernandez, who will step into office on January 27, has promised to adopt a "mano dura" (iron fist) approach to crime, which is likely to favor the increasing militarization of security. However, this is not a sustainable solution to the problem of a rampantly corrupt and ineffective police force, and Hernandez will likely have to confront the reform issue head on.

Yet with the reform effort becoming highly politicized and witnessing pushback from police themselves, there is little room for optimism it will achieve all that is needed. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

EL SALVADOR / 21 MAY 2019

A new US list of corruption suspects in Central America includes officials with ties to sitting presidents -- an important…

DISPLACEMENT / 21 JUN 2016

A new United Nations report highlights skyrocketing rates of forced displacement in Central America's Northern Triangle region, attributing the trend in large…

HOMICIDES / 8 JAN 2013

In a clear sign of Honduras' worsening security crisis, statistics show that more than 100 massacres took place inside…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…