HomeNewsBriefRecord Number of El Salvador Police Quit as Violence Takes its Toll
BRIEF

Record Number of El Salvador Police Quit as Violence Takes its Toll

EL SALVADOR / 28 JAN 2016 BY ARRON DAUGHERTY EN

El Salvador police are abandoning the National Civil Police (PNC) in record numbers amid rising confrontations with gangs and complaints officers' families are being threatened.

The PNC lost a total of 516 officers in 2015, up 49 percent from the year prior. The increase was mainly driven by 358 police resignations, La Prensa Gráfica reported, citing the police information office OIR. 

Officers have been leaving the PNC in increasing numbers, with 802 police quitting their jobs in the last three years. 

Since the 2014 collapse of El Salvador's controversial gang truce, the nation has seen a rise in violence, culminating with El Salvador's recent designation as the bloodiest nation in the Western Hemisphere. 

SEE ALSO: El Salvador's Gang Truce: Positives and Negatives 

Amid this violence, gangs such as the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and Barrio 18 have not only been competing with each other but also confronting and targeting security forces and El Salvador has seen a huge jump in police killings. 

"Police are afraid, we're human and have fear. This fear has translated into many leaving the police force," police organizer Marvin Reyes said during a march for better pay and conditions. 

Violence against police is a concern even when they're off duty. Between November and mid-January 69 officers applied for government funds to change their residencies after gangs threatened them and their families, La Prensa Gráfica reported.

InSight Crime Analysis

Given El Salvador's dire security situation it's no surprise that police are leaving the PNC in record numbers. What remains to be seen is how the government will respond, given its limited options. 

Despite their increasingly dangerous job, PNC officers begin with a starting monthly salary of $424, according to Enfoque Jurídico. Better compensation seems an obvious solution to police resignations and recent protests. However it is unclear whether El Salvador could afford to better pay its officers. The nation is still debating the passage of a new tax to fund its Secure El Salvador security initiative. 

El Salvador also uses its military to aid the police in public security and if PNC officers go on strike, as some have threatened, the government may have to rely even more on the military. However many of the soldiers who are being deployed -- and earn even less than their police counterparts -- are already chaffing under the dangerous demands of their new job.

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

BARRIO 18 / 16 NOV 2018

Even under the best of circumstances, there are few incentives to become a cooperating witness in an extortion case in…

MEXICO / 3 JAN 2013

The entire police force of Marcos Castellanos, Michoacan state has resigned out of fear for their safety following attacks…

SECURITY POLICY / 16 JAN 2018

A prominent opposition figure in Venezuela was killed after a high-powered firefight with security forces, making him perhaps the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…