HomeNewsBriefNearly 200 Guatemalan Police Removed for Criminal Ties in 2012
BRIEF

Nearly 200 Guatemalan Police Removed for Criminal Ties in 2012

GUATEMALA / 19 FEB 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

The Guatemalan police purged 194 officers from its ranks for their criminal activities in 2012, and has fired 22 more so far in 2013, highlighting the extent of criminal infiltration in the National Police Force (PNC).

Among the Guatemalan police officers detained last year were five agents arrested for smuggling meth precursor chemicals, 11 for an attempted kidnapping, and 19 officers accused of kidnapping and money laundering, among other charges. The authorities say all 194 officers will face trial, reported Prensa Libre.

The officers were removed as part of the police anti-corruption measures being pushed by President Otto Perez Molina’s administration. The Commission for Police Reform is primarily responsible for overseeing the clean-up, now relying on a staff of 89 officers trained to perform internal inspections within the police.  

Government Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla said that the government aims continue reform efforts in the coming year by increasing personnel levels, providing officers with better equipment, and encouraging the reporting of irregular activities within the force. 

The firing of the corrupt officers has been complimented by ongoing efforts to expand Guatemala’s police. Mid-February saw 1,617 officers graduate from the Guatemala City police academy. Vice President Roxana Baldetti noted during the ceremony that another 4,000 are set to graduate between August and December 2013. All new graduates of the National Civil Police Academy must pass confidence tests.

The government’s plan also aims to improve efforts to tackle organized crime through reassessing where police are deployed. Assistant Security Minister Edi Juarez has said that the government has already determined which areas of the country are most in need of a larger police presence. Some of the most recent graduates will be placed in regions worst affected by the drug trade, organized crime and violence, including Peten, Escuintla, Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango, and San Marcos.

InSight Crime Analysis

Police reform is clearly essential to improving security in a country with one of the highest homicide rates in the region, and is a purported objective of Perez Molina’s presidency. The government opened a new police training school in August 2012 and, shortly afterwards, announced plans to track police officers with micro-chips, in order to better monitor any suspicious movements by corrupt agents. 

However, as think-tank the International Crisis Group outlined in a report last year, Perez’s deep-rooted military ties may serve as an obstacle to police reform, increasing the possibility that he will rely heavily on the military for security and thus undermine efforts to clean up the police.

Another concern is that as Guatemala continues to fire corrupt officers and train new ones, the force could face a shortage of equipment. Siglo 21 reported that following the recent graduation of newly trained officers, the government is now short 5,000 weapons for the police force. The government experienced the same problem last year when a class of officers graduated in August, one indication that resource shortages are a continuing constraint.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

BARRIO 18 / 4 FEB 2015

Guatemala President Otto Perez Molina blamed high levels of violence in January on rivalries between street gangs MS13 and Barrio…

GUATEMALA / 31 AUG 2012

The United States has sent some 170 Marines to Guatemala as part of its ongoing efforts to crackdown on drug…

INFOGRAPHICS / 3 FEB 2014

Since our last article in this series there have been significant changes in the administration of citizen security in Venezuela.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…