Mérida, March 31st 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – On Wednesday Venezuela authorities formally announced the disbanding of the Metropolitan Police of Caracas (MP), paving the way for the newly-established National Bolivarian Police (PNB) to take over operations in the nation’s capital. Minister for Justice and Internal Affairs Tareck El Aissami, whose ministry is responsible for running the new national police force, made the announcement yesterday, adding that a total 730 million BsF was approved on Monday to pay all pending debts owed to the soon disbanded officers.
Speaking at the 2nd Meeting of Western Regional Policing Forces in Maracaibo, state of Zulia, Aissami elaborated on the content of the government’s Gaceta Oficial 39.644 published early Wednesday morning – the Metropolitan Police of Caracas will cease to exist within 90 days, with all current and former staff guaranteed their rights as workers, ending another phase in government efforts to consolidate all 134 police forces nationwide into one, national police force with standardized practices and equipment.
According to the Minister, all members of MP Caracas (officers, workers, and administrators) who wish to continue working in public service are guaranteed employment at the Ministry, with active duty officers expected to be incorporated into the National Bolivarian Police, or PNB.
Of the 10,597 members of MP Caracas who worked for the force in 2008 (the year in which a presidential decree made it part of the Ministry for Justice), 45.8% have already moved on to other assignments or have since retired, said Aissami.
All personnel affected by the liquidation, regardless of their current employment status – as well as 2,939 who retired during the 80’s and 90’s – will receive 100% of the retirement and other workplace benefits promised to them while working for MP Caracas.
As reported by Venezolana de Televisión (VTV), Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez on Monday authorized the 730 million BsF needed to finance debts accrued by MP Caracas.
MP Caracas is known for its excessive use of force against the general population, and is widely accused of corruption and misuse of the public’s trust. Three former officers are currently serving 30-year sentences for their roles in the violent death of pro-government demonstrators during the April 2002 military coup against President Chávez.
During a hearing at the Venezuelan National Assembly on 8 February 2011, Minister Aissami recognized that one fifth of all crimes in Venezuela are committed by police forces.
In a 2009 interview published by The Guardian, then commissioner of MP Caracas Jhonny Campos explained the reason Venezuela’s police forces urgently needed change.
“The police have very little training in human rights. Some guys think, ‘I’m the law, I have the power, I can do what I want.’ And because people don’t denounce the killings, the culture of impunity grows,” said Campos.
Campos is now Assistant Director of Intelligence and Strategy within the PNB.
The Venezuelan National Guard is to police MP Caracas areas until the PNB is fully able to manage its Caracas responsibilities.