HomeNewsBriefMexico's Police are Overworked, Underpaid and Understaffed: Report
BRIEF

Mexico's Police are Overworked, Underpaid and Understaffed: Report

MEXICO / 14 JUL 2017 BY PARKER ASMANN AND STEVEN DUDLEY EN

New statistics on Mexico's police paints a picture of an overworked, underpaid and understaffed force that is not concentrated where there are the most public security threats.

According to a new breakdown of the country's police from Mexico's National Statistics and Geography Institute (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía - INEGI), police officers in Mexico work on average 65.4 hours per week, with 70 percent of officers working more than 48 hours per week.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Mexico's police officers also earn 31.3 pesos ($1.78) per hour, or 250.4 pesos ($14.27) per standard eight-hour work day, a little more than triple the 80.04 pesos ($4.56) daily minimum wage, the report found.

Mexico's police forces are also largely understaffed, which has forced them to log more hours and skip essential training procedures. The report found that the number of police officers patrolling the streets was below the national average in 22 of Mexico's 31 states. This was also the case in many of Mexico's deadliest states in 2016 (Guerrero, Baja California, Chihuahua and Sinaloa, among others).

InSight Crime Analysis

The problem with police in Mexico may start by overworking and underpaying them. For comparison, in the United States police are paid an average of $61,600 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is about four times the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour paid in the United States.

The difference in pay may generate differences in the profile of the job applicants. In Mexico, just over 54 percent of police have obtained a high school education, while just 8.9 percent have obtained a university degree. In the United States, 47 percent of officers have high school diplomas, 28 percent have university degrees, and 12 percent have a master's degree.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Police Reform

The INEGI data also pointed at another hole in policing in Mexico: distribution of resources. Mexico has 331,000 currently active police officers, representing an average of 231 officers for every 100,000 Mexican residents. But Mexico City recorded the highest rate of police officers per 100,000 residents with 678.4, while Tamaulipas recorded the lowest with just 82.7 police officers per 100,000 residents. Not surprisingly, those two areas are on different ends of the spectrum as it relates to crime trends.

With a lack of manpower, Mexican police are forced to work more hours to compensate. The report only reveals the hours being logged. As officers work more, training is often brief or absent all together. A 2015 report revealed that 90 percent of officers were not adequately trained and approved to operate under the new accusatory criminal justice system, and in 2016, some 28,000 police officers who had failed polygraph tests, drug screens or ability tests were still on patrol.*

* This article has been corrected. An earlier version said that 90 percent of officers were not trained for duty.

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

POLICE REFORM / 17 DEC 2013

For many citizens, corruption is associated with state institutions and, above all, with the institutions that have…

ELITES AND CRIME / 9 OCT 2020

As drug traffickers’ bank of choice for many years, HSBC allowed its services to be used as a conduit…

INFOGRAPHICS / 6 MAY 2015

Mexico has designated a high-ranking military official to head the government’s new security operation in Jalisco, a move inspiring little…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…