Chávez Approves $409 million for Expansion of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Police Force

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez approved 1.756 billion bolivars (US$409 million) in funds yesterday for the expansion of the country’s National Bolivarian Police (PNB) and the National Experimental University of Security (UNES), where the PNB receive their training.

By Ewan Robertson

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Officers in training at the National Experimental University of Security (CdO).
Officers in training at the National Experimental University of Security (CdO).
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Mérida, 26th March 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez approved 1.756 billion bolivars (US$409 million) in funds yesterday for the expansion of the country’s National Bolivarian Police (PNB) and the National Experimental University of Security (UNES), where the PNB receive their training.

“The resources are destined for infrastructure, training, technological equipment and the supplying of the UNES,” Chavez confirmed, detailing that through the Special Program of Police Formation a further 7,700 PNB officers would be trained. The PNB currently contains 7,000 officers, of 90,000 active police officers in the country.

This investment will allow for the expansion of the PNB to another 15 regional states, covering 56% of the national territory and attending to 83% of the population. The PNB currently operates in the capital Caracas and neighboring Miranda state.

Deployed in 2010, the PNB is an initiative of the Chavez government to improve citizen security and tackle the high crime rate in Venezuela, particularly in poorer and more violent neighborhoods. Officers’ training at the UNES focuses on the humanitarian and social aspects of policing and the need to work in direct conjunction with communities.

Luiz Fernandez, director of the PNB, reported last week that homicides had been reduced by 29.2% so far this year in the three largest districts of the capital Caracas, and has previously reported a total reduction in crime of 52% in areas where the PNB operates.

Chavez also announced resources to strengthen Venezuela’s Criminal Investigation Body CICPC, including training 2,500 investigative officers, 2,000 prison officers, 2,000 officers in areas of specialization, and the establishment of 29 new centers of investigation.

Other funds shall support the retraining of all the country’s regular police officers and executing 250 social projects being developed by the UNES for implementation in communities. A series of international seminars and national consultations are also scheduled to take place to help develop public security policies.

The Venezuelan president stated that all of these efforts will be incorporated into the government’s Great Security Mission, “which we should be launching shortly,” he stated.

Treatment in Cuba

The Venezuelan president made yesterday’s announcements from Havana, Cuba, where he arrived on Saturday to undergo five rounds of radiation therapy treatment. The treatment comes after he underwent surgery to have a cancerous lesion removed from his pelvic region last 26 February.

The President reported he would return to Venezuela on Wednesday, then on Sunday will again travel to Cuba for a second round of treatment, after which “will be informing the country” on the situation, he said.