An official affirmed that individuals with arrest warrants greatly outnumber police in Paraguay, an uneasy sign of the country’s lack of resources in the fight against insecurity.

According to Elisa Ledesma, a spokesperson for the police department, only 7,000 of the 24,570 employees who make up Paraguay’s national police force actually conduct street patrols, with the remaining employees responsible mainly for administrative work. This is means just 28 percent of the police are actually on active duty. As the police have arrest warrants issued for 25,000 people, this means there are almost four criminals for every police officer walking the streets, she told newspaper ABC.

Adding to the problem, the majority of arrested criminal offenders end up being released, she said. According to Ledesma, during the first half of 2011, 12,000 people were detained and 9,000 of them (75 percent) allowed to walk.

Ledesma’s comments come just a day after Vice Minister of the Interior Gregorio Almada stated that Paraguay needs at least 5,000 police to properly fight crime in the country.

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