The Honduras government plans to create a new force of 4,500 community police, and to reorganize the structure of existing police units, though neither plan seems capable of addressing the deep rooted issues undermining the country’s security forces.
Security Minister Arturo Corrales announced plans for the new units of community police, which the government aims to deploy by September 1 — less than five months before the current government leaves office. Two new National Operation Centers will be in charge of supervising the officers, and will monitor them using a high-tech GPS system, reported El Heraldo.
Corrales said that with the addition of the community police, “a rapid decrease” in levels of violence was expected, reported Nicaraguan newspaper El Nuevo Diario.
According to La Prensa, the country’s police force will also be reorganized into 18 departmental units, 10 metropolitan units, 170 police districts and 450 community police units as part of the plan, and Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula will be broken into quadrants to facilitate security efforts.
Corrales reported that 175 new vehicles had already been acquired for the force, and the government was working to get 300 motorcycles and 5,000 bulletproof vests.
InSight Crime Analysis
Honduras has the highest homicide rate in the world, a situation exacerbated by weaknesses and corruption in the police, which are heavily implicated in organized crime. The inability of the police to provide security has led to the government deploying military patrols to the streets of its two main cities, San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa. However, San Pedro Sula continues to register high levels of violence, with 48 bodies sent to the morgue in just two days in August.
Previous efforts to reform the police, which have included the implementation of psychological analyses and lie detector tests, have been largely unsuccessful and have met with tough resistance. The addition of community police in this context seems unlikely to resolve the issue, as they will be working alongside an already corrupt force, significantly reducing the possibility of their being effective.
The reforms are further undermined by the position of the government, which has little time to oversee the implementation of the plan before presidential elections slated for November and the handover of power in January.