The north Mexico state of Nuevo Leon has established a new civil police force which is set to take over the duties of the armed forces in combating organized crime.
The new Civil Police force, which currently has 422 officers, will have a total of 14,000 by 2014, according to the state governor, Rodrigo Medina de la Cruz.
Medina de la Cruz, speaking at the inauguration ceremony for the first unit of the Civil Police in Monterrey, explained that that the police force will by 2014 be responsible for combating organized crime in the state, and taking over the duties currently carried out by the armed forces.
A state-run campaign has been launched to recruit new officers, with a montly salary of between 12,000 and 18,000 pesos ($925 to $1,400), considerably higher than the amount given to previous officers. In addition, new recruits are being offered housing assistance and other benefits.
The governor urged the new officers to behave with honesty and integrity, and to wear their uniforms with pride.
Since 2006, President Felipe Calderon has increasingly given the Mexican army the task of fighting organized crime, with state and municipal police forces viewed as ineffective and riddled with corruption. However, this has failed to make a dent in the rates of violence connected to organized crime, and the army has been accused of abuses.
Nuevo Leon, which borders the United States, has seen vicious battles in recent years waged by rival drug cartels attempting to gain control of the territory.