Friday, September 26, 2014

México: External Oversight of Public Safety, A National Disgrace

According to EFE, in a forum attended by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, citizens have proposed the creation of a system of external control for the police to guarantee more honesty and trust in the police forces.

It was one of the proposals presented at the forum “Third National Forum of Joint Causes. For the Security, Citizens and Police” organized by the Citizens for a Common Cause on Thursday (September 25) in the capital.

Citizens, academics and authorities brainstormed over two days to come up with proposals to improve security in México with special emphasis on the police.

In comments to EFE, the president of Citizens for a Common Cause, María Elena Morera, said that in addition to an internal review body, “there must be an external supervisory office.”

Such bodies would serve “to review complaints against the police and resolve them” as well as “protect the police because often they have serious complaints against their bosses of abuses, humiliations (and) corruption, and those complaints are not attended to,” she added.

COMMENT: Morera explained that the proposal was expected to start “with the federal police as a launching point” for state-owned corporations.

In his address to the forum’s closing session, Peña Nieto made a reference to the reduction in the number of murders in México in the past few months that, according to the activist, “is undeniable” although “we have to know why it came down.”

“They attribute it to greater coordination, and better intelligence which ensures less violent clashes,” but “we are not sure that it is due to that and a serious study is needed to see why,” Morera said.

Morera criticized the government’s silence on matters such as the continuing high level of serious crimes like kidnapping. “They avoid talking of those issues and only speak about what is going well,” she said.

“We believe that there are crimes that are still being committed at the same rate or even higher such as robberies of residences and we haven’t seen them taking this matter up with enough responsibility,” the activist added.

The event was held against the backdrop of the abduction and murder this week of federal Chamber of Deputies lawmaker Gabriel Gómez Michel of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

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