The 5,000-strong National Gendarmerie, a branch of the Federal Police, will be officially inaugurated by President Peña Nieto in a ceremony tomorrow.
The primary responsibility of the new force will be policing in rural communities where the army, marines and Federal Police have no presence and criminal activities have been identified. It will also patrol areas with strategic installations, offer assistance in areas faced with natural disasters and conduct special operations with other forces.
Officers of the Gendarmerie, whose recruitment and training began just over a year ago, will carry arms similar to those of the Federal Police and will have the power to arrest. They will be issued four different uniforms, to be worn depending on their assignment.
Launching the new force has cost more than 2 billion pesos to date.
The former chairman of the Senate Public Security Commission welcomed the force’s creation as a positive one, but warned that measures need to be in place to prevent desertions, that officers should be paid a decent salary, and that cadets don’t become corrupted. Above all, said Felipe González, the force mustn’t become distanced from society.
Former Federal District prosecutor Bernardo Bátiz had more serious concerns. He worries that the Gendarmerie will be employed to ensure that people in rural areas accept the conditions of businesses wishing to invest in petroleum exploration and extraction.
Noting that there are no coincidences in politics, he sees a danger that the new force will enforce the imposition of the new energy laws on ejido members who might be resistant.
The force’s official functions are:
• Preventative (presence, protection, and creating conditions of security).
• Maintaining public order (enforcing the law, restoration of order).
• Educational (providing information about laws and advising citizens of danger).
• Service (information to the community about road conditions).
• Social support (helping vicitims of catastrophe and crime).
• National integration (maintain watch over the protection of the border and provide services to remote areas).
• Environmental (support environmental protection).
Source: El Economista (sp)