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BRIEF

Honduras Aims to Double National Police by 2022

HONDURAS / 30 SEP 2016 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

Honduras is looking to double its National Police within the next six years, an ambitious yet questionable plan given previous underwhelming attempts at police reform and the perennial issue of corruption.

On September 28, Honduras' Police Reform Commission announced it would push for the addition of 13,000 new police officers by 2022, reported the Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"We hope that within six years the number of police will be above 26,000, and that the rate of police per 100,000 citizens will have increased from 156 to 280," said Omar Rivera, a member of the commission. UN data from 2010 (pdf) put the global median ratio of police officers per 100,000 population at 303 and the Latin America and Caribbean media at 284.

16-09-30-UNODCChartPoliceRation

Honduras' Police Reform Commission, formed in April in response to news high-ranking officers ordered the assassination of anti-drug czar Arístides González in 2010, has evaluated 1,515 police officers for corruption, removing over 600 from the force. According to the AFP, Rivera said the plan is that, for each officer purged from the force, two more will be added in their place.

According to Proceso, the objective of police officials is to add an average of 3,000 new officers each year over the next six years. An estimated 1,652 new officers are expected to graduate from the police academy by the end of 2016.

The police reform commission is set to continue working until at least April 2017, having a 12-month time frame to complete its mandate.

InSight Crime Analysis

As the creation of Honduras' Police Reform Commission suggests, corruption within the police has been a major issue for Honduras. Previous attempts at reforming the National Police have often moved slowly, encountering resistance from officers themselves and failing to result in significant improvement.

As a result, Honduran officials have often found it easier to simply create new police forces, such as the elite Military Police of Public Order (PMOP) -- the most trusted institution among Hondurans.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Police Reform 

Fortunately, however, there are early indications this new reform commission has been making welcome progress in cleaning up the National Police.

Nonetheless, doubling the National Police will not in itself be a solution to poor police performance and corruption within the ranks. Rather, adding so many new officers in such a short time frame may actually saturate Honduras' abilities to thoroughly train and carefully vet new recruits, potentially exacerbating issues of corruption. 

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