Published — Wednesday 19 December 2012
Last update 18 December 2012 9:49 pm
MEXICO CITY: Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Monday announced the creation of a national police force to crack down on crime and battle the country’s powerful drug cartels.
The force- a gendarmerie based on the model of Spain’s Guardia Civil, would be 10,000 strong. Currently Mexico has a patchwork of city and state police, along with some national police.
“Mexicans want peace,” said the new president, addressing a gathering of cabinet members, the country’s state governors, top lawmakers and judges, as well as human rights observers.
The priority, he said, is to decrease the number of “homicides, kidnappings and incidents of extortion.”
The president’s six-point strategy includes an overhaul of the security forces that would see the country divided into five operational regions.
Pena Nieto also said he was allocating $8.8 billion for social programs aimed at preventing crime.
Pena Nieto, 46, is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the party that ran Mexico for 71 years ending in 2000.
More than 60,000 people died in the “war on drugs” during the Calderon administration, even though he deployed the country’s armed forces to battle drug gangs.