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Mexico: New Gendarmerie to Begin in Late 2013

(Apr. 30, 2013) Members of the armed forces have begun the selection and training of officers for a new federal police force in <?Mexico, which will be called gendarmerie. The government expects that it will be composed initially of 10,000 members, according to a February 25, 2013, statement to the Mexican Senate by Manuel Mondragón y Kalb, the current sub-secretary of the Interior. (10,000 Elementos Formarán la Gendarmería Nacional, El Financiaro (Feb. 26, 2013).)

Mondragón y Kalb also pointed out that the national gendarmerie will be sent where “police presence should be reliable and permanent.” He told the Senators that the gendarmerie will be a police force that will fight common crimes in places to be determined by state authorities. He pointed out that the gendarmerie will not replace the current Federal Police, will which will be retained to fight high-impact crimes being investigated by the national authorities. The gendarmerie is expected to begin its operations in late 2013. (Id.)

The Federal Police force is composed of more than 36,000 members, and it was strengthened by the previous government of Felipe Calderón (2006-2012). “Roughly, the Federal Police fights federal crimes and the gendarmerie will fight common crimes,” said Mondragón y Kalb, who was nominated by the Executive Branch as the National Security Commissioner and will who will oversee the new police force. (Id.)

Crimes such as extortion, kidnapping and murder are investigated from by the states, unless the organized crimes and drug trafficking are involved, which are federal crimes. President Peña Nieto, who took office on December 1, 2012, had said that as part of his new security strategy he would create the gendarmerie, but until now he had given few details on how it would be made up or on its functions. In an interview after his meeting with the Senators, Mondragón y Kalb told reporters that of the 10,000 members that initially will made up the gendarmerie, the Army will train 8,500 and the Navy 1,500. In response to questions, he said that the members of the gendarmerie will not be military officers, but will have military training, and after completing that training, they will receive police training. (Id.)