Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Municipal, state police to take on criminal investigation role

Municipal and state police will not just patrol the streets but also carry out criminal investigations under a new policing model approved by a national security organization.

Members of the National Conference of Municipal Public Security, namely mayors, approved a federally-formulated policing model that proposes the creation of investigative units within all municipal and state police forces.

According to a federal Security Ministry (SSPC) document that details the policing model, municipal and state police are generally better suited to investigative tasks than their federal counterparts.

“For criminal investigation purposes, municipal and state police generally have a significant advantage over” federal authorities “because they patrol city streets every day,” the document says.

It says the officers have a better understanding of the local criminal landscape and “generally maintain a close relationship with the community.”

The document also says that it is fundamental that prosecutors’ offices seek assistance from municipal and state police to solve crimes, apprehend perpetrators, file complaints and gather criminal intelligence.

“Some municipalities and states have managed to form investigative units or have police who are trained to carry out these roles,” the SSPC document says, adding that those units and officers have supported the work carried out by local prosecutors’ offices.

Under the SSPC model, municipal and state police officers who are part of their forces’ investigative units will carry out a range of tasks including inspecting crime scenes, interviewing witnesses and victims and gathering evidence.

The federal government first proposed the creation of so-called “super” municipal police forces last year. It said that investigative units within municipal police departments should include criminologists, psychologists and legal professionals.

Before he took office, President López Obrador said that neither state nor municipal police were functioning properly in the fight against violence and crime. Since he was sworn in at the end of 2018, the security situation has deteriorated further and 2020 is on track to surpass 2019 as the most violent on record.

Many municipal police officers are poorly paid and uncertified, a situation that decreases the likelihood that policing will be effective and increases the probability that corruption and collusion with organized crime will become problems.

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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