Monday, June 17, 2013

Getting security reform right in Mexico -- a public-private partnership

The private sector has helped the government, with both money and technical expertise, to recruit and run a new police force. The first task was to purge state and local police of infiltration by drug mafias. Rodrigo Medina, Nuevo León’s governor, says 4,200 police were fired or jailed after failing lie-detector and other tests. At first the armed forces (mainly marines) were drafted in to keep order. Then, with advice from the human-resources departments of Monterrey’s biggest firms, the government launched a national recruitment drive to build a new state police force, known as Fuerza Civil (civil force). 
This is made up of people who have never worked in law-enforcement before. Recruits were given business-style psychometric tests as well as military training. Their starting pay of more than 15,000 pesos ($1,175) a month is about double what a normal cop makes. The new policemen are housed in secure compounds that make it difficult for drug mafias to nobble them. The smartly dressed recruits patrol Monterrey in jeeps. Surveys suggest they enjoy the trust of citizens. 
A business group has set up a monitoring system, collecting data to compare security in Monterrey’s nine municipalities. Some firms have helped to finance a network, known as the Centre of Citizen Integration, to encourage people to report crimes—even those committed by the police or army. It has helped people overcome their huge mistrust of those who are supposed to protect them.
More from the Economist here.

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