According to numbers released by Honduras’ Public Ministry, only 21 percent of cases passed to police were investigated between 2010 and 2011, with police arguing that they lack the resources to investigate everything.
The Honduran Public Ministry, which includes the Office of the Attorney General, registered 66,341 reported crimes in 2010, and passed along about 56,000 of those to Honduras’ investigative police body, the National Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DNIC). The DNIC only investigated 12,154 of those cases, according to a Public Ministry memo seen by El Heraldo.
A police spokesperson told El Proceso that the DNIC lacks the technological and financial resources to investigate the backlog of cases, noting that the agency doesn’t even own its own offices, and is based in a rented building.
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Honduras’ Public Ministry previously had an investigative arm, but it was eliminated by a Congressional decree on Februrary 25, 2010. Since then, several judicial and government authorities have spoken out in favor of reinstating this police force, including the president of the Supreme Court and members of the Public Security Reform Commission, which was established last January to advance police reform.
The DNIC opposes reinstalling the Public Ministry police, arguing that the Ministry controlled Honduras’ investigative police for twelve years and brought about little result.
The disagreements between the Public Ministry and the DNIC feed into a wider debate over how to best reform Honduras’ police into a more efficient force. One reform effort is attempting to create a community policing unit in capital Tegucigalpa, which appears to be delivering results.
The DNIC may be right to argue that they lack the technology and the funds to carry out investigations, but it is not the only branch of law enforcement that is overwhelmed and underesourced. The National Police are reportedly sitting on over 13,000 outstanding arrest warrants issued since 2007, incapable of acting on them.
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