It is widely known that Mexico’s police are ill-paid and often poorly-trained. But a new study shows that many are also carrying a lot of extra weight.
Eight of every 10 police officers in Mexico are overweight or obese, according to a report by the National Statistics Institute (Inegi).
The first National Survey of Professional Police Standards and Training, which was published yesterday, shows that 79.4% of officers exceed their recommended body mass index (BMI).
Nearly 52% of Federal Police officers were found to be overweight last year, while 50% and 47% of their state and municipal counterparts respectively were in the same category.
Inversely, the Inegi survey found that municipal police forces had the highest percentage of obese officers.
Just under 35% of municipal cops were deemed to be suffering from obesity compared to 27.7% and 26.5% of state and federal police with the same condition.
Police engaged in operational tasks had slightly higher overweight and obese rates than officers performing administrative duties.
The national survey also determined that 81.4% of police officers suffered from at least one chronic disease.
High blood pressure was the most common ailment followed by diabetes, chronic stress and heart and lung diseases.
Smaller numbers of officers were found to be suffering from anemia, liver disease, HIV and cancer.
Through responses to its survey, Inegi determined that just over 30% of officers joined police forces because they had always wanted to do so.
However, an even higher percentage of respondents – 36.5% – said they became police out of economic necessity.
Just over 5% of police said that they joined a police force because they wanted to help other people and 3.3% said that combating insecurity was their main motivation for becoming a cop.
The survey also found that Mexico City police were most likely to be offered a bribe by citizens, followed by those in Chihuahua, Michoacán and Coahuila.
On the contrary, Chiapas cops were least likely to be subjected to attempts to pay them off followed by police in Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Sinaloa and Campeche.
Source: El Universal (sp)