Problems facing crime fighters
PANAMA. Security is a great concern in Panama and everyone agrees that the National Police need more equipment and personnel to be effe...
PANAMA. Security is a great concern in Panama and everyone agrees that the National Police need more equipment and personnel to be effective in the battle against crime.
The former general of the Armed Forces of Panama, Ruben Dario Paredes and the National Police director, Francisco Troya take different views of how this organization must be managed, but both agree that the main problems are lack of personnel and corruption within the institution.
Paredes believes that it is necessary to increase the personnel to a proportion of ten policemen for every 1000 inhabitants at a national level.
While Troya thinks that the lack of personnel is not unusual as other countries have a similar problem and said that from 2010 the police will increase the number of units by stopping retirement for five years, which will allow the organization to stabilize itself.
He added, “I am convinced that the perception of security will improve in the coming years.”
Talking about the amount of equipment available the former general said that the National Police has an excessive amount of equipment, enough to create a second force.
Troya disagreed and said that the government should invest more in infrastructure, equipment and training.
Although he recognizes that money has been spent on video cameras, GPS communications equipment and bullet proof jackets.
The subject of hitmen was a sticky matter for both parties. Paredes said that with a proper intelligence system and regional co-ordination with other police forces they could be controlled, keeping hitmen from entering the country, because the electronic police record is more effective than visas.
Troya insisted that it is very difficult to control and identify the hitmen and added that the government has meetings with the authorities of Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia as a way to fight organized crime.
Paredes and Troya agreed that corruption is present in the National Police.
The former general said this was due to the appointment of civilians as directors of that institution rather than career officers.
Troya, on the other hand said that every organization has its weaknesses, but they have always fought this disease.
Different approaches to the same problems, but the fact remains that the levels of criminality in the country are higher than ever and no one seems to be able to control delinquents moving here.