The Mexican constitution discriminates against the police and other elements of the country’s security apparatus, National Security Commissioner Renato Sales said yesterday at a police conference in the Gulf state of Tabasco.
“We’re going through an insecurity [and] democracy crisis and it’s the police who must confront it but we scorn the police with the constitution,” Sales told police and military officers in the state capital Villahermosa.
“There is not a single constitution in the world that scorns its prosecutors, its police and expert witnesses, not a single one, only Mexico,” he added.
The constitution doesn’t promote respect for those who work in the provision of justice or protect them legally, Sales argued.
Criminal prosecution is also low, with a recent study rating Mexico as the worst country in Latin America for impunity.
Sales pointed to a section of article 123 as being particularly discriminatory because it prevents the reinstatement of a dismissed police officer even if he or she is subsequently found to be innocent of the wrongdoing of which they were accused.
Sales also proposed getting rid of polygraph tests as a means of evaluating officers’ trustworthiness, saying they are unreliable and comparable to “inquisitorial chairs.”
He also likened mandatory police confidence tests — in which polygraph tests are often a key component — to hanging the sword of Damocles over officers’ heads every two years.
“There’s no test more subjective than the polygraph. And suddenly, the police officer who they say made the needle jump . . . asks, ‘Why do I have to go?’ [and] they respond, ‘It’s confidential,’” Sales said.
Moreover, the security commissioner proposed creating a degree in police science to raise the esteem in which the profession is held. He also argued that a complete review and reconsideration of the police recruitment and evaluation model is required in order to ensure that the nation’s forces are equipped to respond to future challenges.
The current year looks almost certain to become Mexico’s most violent on record, with homicide numbers in October the highest ever recorded, according to the National Public Security System, beating the previous record set just four months earlier in June.