They're part of the problem, says coalition. They're part of the problem, says coalition.

Guerrero security pact: certify police first

Response to new pact also includes urging that criminals be engaged in dialogue

The first requirement of any new security model in Guerrero should be the certification of the state’s police forces because they are infiltrated by criminals, according to a new political coalition.

The Citizens’ Front for Mexico (FCM) made the suggestion in response to state Governor Héctor Astudillo’s announcement of a new security pact, pointing in particular to problems in municipal police forces.

In an interview with the newspaper Bajo Palabra, representatives of the three parties that make up the FCM said that a breakdown of the state’s police forces was a key contributing factor to insecurity because it has a direct influence on violence.

The beleaguered southern state is one of Mexico’s most dangerous, with violent crime affecting several different areas including the one-time tourism jewel of Acapulco and a number of rural municipalities, including those where opium poppies are cultivated.

A joint operation by state and federal police and the military in May rounded up 45 “fake” officers who had infiltrated the municipal police force of Zihuatanejo.

The coordinator of the Citizens’ Movement Party in Guerrero, who also served as the mayor of Acapulco from 2012 to 2015, says that eliminating criminal accomplices that operate from within the state’s security forces is essential to implementing a successful security strategy.

“We can’t remove ourselves from the reality that all the police are infiltrated, above all the municipal. So that’s where we have to start,” Luis Walton Aburto said.

Barracks, he suggested, was one option.

He recalled that when he was mayor of the Pacific port city municipal police officers were housed in barracks, which he says led to a 50% reduction in intentional homicides because many of them had links to drug cartels.

National Action Party (PAN) representative Francisco Rodríguez also said that the certification and training of police forces was a priority.

“Both the state and federal governments have failed on these issues . . . the other political parties must agree on actions to achieve peace,” he said.

A representative from the third party that makes up the FCM — the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) — added that the new pact could fail if it just sought to bring more federal police and military elements to the streets of Guerrero, as has previously occurred.

“It’s already been made clear to us that’s not the solution,” Fredy García Guevara said

Meanwhile, the bishop of the Diocese of Chilpancingo-Chilapa also offered an opinion — not for the first time — as to how peace can be achieved in Guerrero.

Interviewed after officiating at a mass at the state capital’s central cemetery, Salvador Rangel Mendoza said the new agreement represented an opportunity to open dialogue not just with friends but all stakeholders in the state’s security, meaning that criminal organizations must also be included in the process.

“Personally, I have spoken about a dialogue with all people . . . all the different ideas need to be put on the table, ” he said.

“. . . If we are going to [only] talk among friends . . . what kind of dialogue is that?”

Source:  Bajo Palabra (sp)

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