The United States has offered to provide training to 350,000 state and municipal police officers at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, in an effort to better prepare security forces to combat organized crime.
The Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. embassy in Mexico, William Duncan, said the offer was made in recognition of the wave of violence in Mexico caused by the demand for drugs in the U.S. market and because police forces in Mexico are facing the “most ruthless” criminal organizations.
“The U.S. government understands that the security of both countries is directly related, what happens in Mexico affects us and vice versa. Our future prosperity depends on the collective prosperity of the North American region.”
Duncan indicated that U.S. authorities had noted a new commitment from their Mexican counterparts to certify police and stressed that proper training was the base of any professional career and that the FBI training could “change history.”
However, police training is not the only barrier authorities face in fighting organized crime.
Speaking at a public security conference this week, the chief of the National Public Security System, Álvaro Vizcaíno, stated that in order to lower the crime rate the number of officers needs to be at least doubled in addition to ensuring that they have adequate training and resources.
“We need to strengthen the police’s capacity to react and respond. The fundamental problems are that there are not enough police and in many cases the police there are don’t have the training or equipment necessary to be able to work.”
Mexico currently has 450,000 officers at federal, state and municipal levels but according to Vizcaíno some states, “have fewer than half the police they should have.”
Vizcaíno indicated that 1.5 billion pesos (US $80.5 million) have been allocated to strengthen Mexico’s police forces this year and that training courses are being designed in conjunction with the Institute of Juridical Investigations at the National Autonomous University.
Approximately 9% of state officers and 12% of municipal officers have failed evaluation tests but continue to serve in police forces across the country.