Cablegate: The Gom's Federal Police Reform Plans And

DE RUEHME #1063/01 1001917
R 091917Z APR 08

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 MEXICO 001063




E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/12/2028
Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Charles V. Barclay,
Reason: 1.4 (b), (d).

1. (U) On February 27, Emboffs met with Hector Sanchez from
the Public Security Secretariat's (SSP) Office of
International Relations to learn more about the GOM's police
reforms and SSP's restructuring plans. This cable outlines
the seven goals/guidelines that constitute SSP's "bible" for
where the Secretariat is headed.

--------------------------------------------- -----------
Goal 1: Aligning the State's Capability to Combat Crime
--------------------------------------------- -----------

Justice System Reforms

2. (U) On March 6, 2008, Congress approved a package of
criminal justice system reforms, which will complement SSP's
strategic reform plan. The approved legislation promotes a
uniform criminal code and adversarial justice system,
including oral trials. The legislation will also allow the
authorities to record private conversations, and will enforce
house arrest and pre-trial detention in cases involving
suspected organized crime, national security or homicide.
The legislation also aims to modify the entire federal police
structure across the country to emphasize internal affairs
units and other ways to professionalize the police. (Note:
Since the justice system reform package includes
constitutional amendments, a minimum of 17 states need to
approve the reform. End note.)

National Security Council

3. (SBU) SSP has also created a National Council for Public
Security to encourage cooperation among federal public
security agencies and with state and local authorities.
According to Sanchez, 95% of Mexican states are participating
in the council.

Federal Police Merger

4. (SBU) This goal also includes the integration of various
federal police entities under a single command. The recently
approved criminal justice system reforms will officially
centralize the command structure of federal police agencies,
so as to better coordinate anti-crime operations. As of
March 2007, the Federal Preventive Police (PFP) (of the
Public Security Secretariat (SSP)) and the Federal
Investigations Agency (AFI) (formerly of the Attorney
General's office (PGR)) were engaged in merging into a single
unified "Federal Police" under SSP's control. The justice
system reform officially merges the two entities and also
includes provisions to transfer budget control for AFI from
PGR to SSP. Consolidation of the leadership of the PFP and
AFI will also expand the authority of the new Federal Police
to include investigations (which the PFP lacked).

5. (C) Sanchez said Federal Police (FP) officers will be
better trained and capable of conducting investigations.
Sanchez also noted that the current police restructuring plan
will grant SSP greater responsibilities on migration and
customs issues. He was vague, however, on how the SSP would
be able to exercise those authorities. He told Emboffs that
SSP would train their own personnel to enforce the pertinent
laws, in coordination with INM and Aduanas. He later
admitted, however, that some officers from those entities
could be transferred to SSP.

SSP's Subsecretariat of Police Strategy and Intelligence
--------------------------------------------- -----------

6. (SBU) SSP's Subsecretariat of Police Strategy and
Intelligence (PSI) will oversee the operations of the new
combined Federal Police (FP). On February 27, SSP announced
Facundo Rosas Rosas as the new Undersecretary for Police
Strategy and Intelligence, replacing Patricio Patino. (Note:
Patino was repositioned as Undersecretary of the Federal
Penal System, replacing Jose Luis Lagunes Lopez. End Note.)
According to SSP Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna, these changes
were based on the need "to provide the police with more
capacity to investigate and combat organized crime." Sanchez
told Emboffs that he does not expect Rosas' appointment to
portend any significant changes to SSP's reform agenda.

7. (SBU) Sanchez provided Emboffs an organizational chart of
the PSI Subsecretariat and its six sections:

-- Police Intelligence Unit: Responsible for field
collection, tactical analysis, and technical support.

-- Information Analysis Unit: Charged with consolidating
information in a criminal data base and providing thematic
and regional analysis, as well as interpol (liaison

-- Judicial and Ministerial Services Unit: Responsible for
coordinating with local and state authorities as well as
federal entities, such as the customs and immigration
services, and the courts. (Sanchez likened this unit to the
U.S. Marshals Service.)

-- Prevention and Social Proximity Unit: Responsible for
metropolitan police, airport security, and ports of entry.
This unit will also liaise with community organizations and
NGOs to improve the police's image and oversee campaigns to
encourage citizen participation in the war against crime
(such as encouraging the population to provide information on
suspect activity).

-- Federal Support Forces: This component will house SSP's
tactical and immediate response teams. Sanchez noted that
they would be housed in about 6 of the projected 500 police
bases around Mexico to provide regional coverage.

-- Antidrug Police Unit: This unit will be largely
autonomous and house its own intelligence, analysis, and
rapid response capabilities.

500 Police Stations

8. (C) Sanchez said FP officers will eventually be disbursed
to 500 police bases around Mexico. (Note: SSP has previously
stated that there would eventually be an FP presence in every
city of 15,000 or more. End Note.) Sanchez noted that there
are now only 34 bases and expects the 500 to be achieved by
2012 (the end of President Calderon's term); he added that
another 40 bases should open in 2008. The police stations
will be responsible for:

--Receiving citizens' reports of crime and responding in a
timely fashion.

--Providing the analysis, technical services and
investigation needed to generate intelligence that will lead
to the disruption of criminal organizations.

--Integrating FP approaches to the prevention, investigation
and prosecution of crimes.

--Responding to regional crime trends, especially in high
crime areas.

--------------------------------------------- ------
Goal 2: Crime Prevention and Citizen Participation
--------------------------------------------- ------

9. (SBU) This goal envisions creating citizen councils for
the purpose of strengthening citizen involvement in security
issues. Subject matter experts and NGOs will be members of
the councils, in order to develop security policies, and to
carry out critical reviews of the efficiency of actions taken
in security matters at the national, state, and local level.

10. (SBU) SSP's goal paper on Crime Prevention and Citizen
Participation references an "inter-institutional" strategy
with the Secretariats of Social Development, Education and
Health, as well as the National Sports Commission, focused on
urban locations with high poverty and crime indexes. The
strategy integrates three programs: (1) the "Safe Schools"
program to promote security and a healthy environment in
public schools; (2) the "Health Without Drugs" program to
prevent addictions; and (3) the "Recovering Public Spaces"
program, which promotes the rehabilitation of public areas
for social gatherings under a drug-free and safe environment.
Because of their proximity, the planned 500 police bases
(see Goal 1) will be instrumental in stimulating social
participation in these citizen programs and councils.

--------------------------------------------- ------
Goal 3: Improving the SSP's Institutional Capacity
--------------------------------------------- ------

A Police Career Service

11. (C) This goal includes a process of development and
training to create a professional federal police career
service. SSP is currently seeking new recruits at Mexican
universities to ensure they get qualified and well-educated
candidates. Sanchez said that in 2007 SSP hired 600
university graduates and by the end of Calderon's term they
hope to bring on an additional 8,000. He acknowledged that
this figure might be ambitious, but he was confident that the
goal would be met by 2012. All new recruits will go through
four months of basic training. Afterwards, there are two
phases of police education: (1) intelligence training and
(2) the Superior Academy in San Luis Potosi. The academy
currently has 950 students, including local and state police
recruits, as well as participants from Central American

12. (SBU) In a separate meeting on March 13, SSP Secretary
told DEA representatives at post that the Federal Police
force is currently adding approximately 10,000 police
personnel to patrol the northern and southern borders of
Mexico. He related that there are currently 1,500 additional
management level elements currently receiving/completing
advanced degrees and preparing to take leadership positions
within the SSP, and another 1,500 police elements undergoing
Basic Police Academy training. Garcia Luna signaled that
professionalizing and institutionalizing the Federal Police
was his number one priority and that both he and President
Calderon believe 2008 is vital to making lasting changes
within the SSP for its survival. He said, "When I'm gone,
the Police should continue to work as if I were still
here...and that's 'by the book.'"

Human Rights Curriculum

13. (SBU) On March 6, SSP officials told DAS Jacobson that
they were working with Amnesty International, Human Rights
Watch, and the UN Human Rights Commission on curriculum
development for the police academy. They expect the new
curriculum to be ready for course work in November 2008.
(Note: On March 12 poloff followed up with Alberto Herrera,
Executive Director at Amnesty International (AI), Mexico. He
said AI-Mexico and SSP do not have a formal arrangement on
training, but that AI has made verbal agreements to provide
training to approximately 900 mid-level SSP police officers.
Herrera said that AI-Mexico itself does not have the capacity
to support this type of training; however, AI-Netherlands
will come to Mexico and train police officers on human
rights. Right now the role of the AI-Mexico is to be the
point-of-contact for SSP, AI-Netherlands and the AI
headquarters in London. He said AI-Mexico hopes to
participate in training for SSP in the future after they
obtain the resources. End Note.)

Goal 4: Improving the Penitentiary System

14. (SBU) SSP recognizes the need to begin to address the
many problems associated with modernizing its prison system
and has begun to strengthen this program through a number of
personnel changes at top levels within the SSP, with the
appointment of a new Prison System Director and a new
Under-Secretary to begin to implement modern practices.
While this program is in a formative stage, SSP is
considering the use of a number of anti-corruption measures,
to include changes in: personnel selection criteria (not only
for prison guards, but for mid-level and leadership personnel
as well); application of new technology to reduce smuggling
of illegal goods and drugs into the prisons; cell phone
jamming technology to eliminate continued control of street
activity by imprisoned cartel and organized crime leadership;
streamlining the flow of intelligence information to aid in
criminal investigations within the system and at the street
level; and an aggressive nationwide training program for all
on-board personnel and new candidates for positions within
the prison system. SSP is reaching out to other countries to
determine "best practices" that can assist in the
standardization of prison administration at different levels
of control (minimum to maximum security facilities).

Goal 5: Combating Corruption

15. (C) SSP is strengthening its vetting processes. Sanchez
noted that SSP officials, federal police officers, and new
recruits will go through several layers of scrutiny --
including every six months anti-doping (toxicology) testing,
polygraphs, psychological, and personal assets screening.
SSP will create the National Center for Evaluation and
Integrity Control, which will be responsible for these
evaluations and generating standards relevant to the National
Police Career Service (see Goal 3).

16. (C) By mid-2008 SSP plans to have a cadre of about 300
trained polygraphers. This group will be responsible for
testing SSP employees, as well as state and local police.
The examiners will also be made available to other federal
entities. Sanchez was unable to provide specifics about how
the polygraphers would be used in the state and local
contexts. He was also unsure about whether SSP would be able
to force local authorities to undergo screening, or if it
would be by invitation only. Sanchez said the police reforms
will prompt the SSP to clean house and that officers shown to
be corrupt will be forced to leave. SSP realizes that this
may cause temporary manpower shortages. There was also
concern about the possibility that separated officers may go
to work for "the other side," by which Sanchez meant
organized crime.

--------------------------------------------- ----
Goal 6: Information Technology: Platform Mexico
--------------------------------------------- ----

17. (SBU) Police reforms also entail the creation of a
nationwide database to track criminals and monitor criminal
activity across jurisdictions. As such, the GOM has begun the
multi-year development of Platform Mexico (PM), an initiative
valued at roughly $100 million. When finished, PM will
establish real-time interconnectivity among all levels of
police and prosecutors (federal, state & local) and generate
a single, unified national crime database. According to
Garcia Luna, data in this system will date back 10 years and
will include an array of identification data, including
criminal history, vehicle and firearms information, and
immigration and narcotics related intelligence.

18. (C) PM is slated to become fully operational by the
October 2008 and eventually will be made available to each of
the planned 500 federal police bases. It will be housed at
SSP headquarters in Mexico City under the purview of the
Undersecretary for Institutional Development and Evaluation.
Sanchez noted that all users of the system will be given
individual user IDs so that SSP can track who has accessed
the system and when they used it. He said SSP plans to share
system data with other federal agencies, but noted that these
other agencies would probably not have full access to the
system, but rather would receive information tailored to
their specific needs.

19. (C) On March 6, DAS Jacobson and Emboffs had the
opportunity to visit SSP's new Federal Police Center for
Operations, which is linked to Platform Mexico. The Center
monitors and manages the GOM's interdiction activities using
information from the U.S. Embassy Information Analysis
Center, as well as information from other Mexican government
agencies. The Center also has the responsibility of
monitoring federal penal institutions and key strategic
locations in Mexico City.

Goal 7: Indexes and Measurement

20. (SBU) In order to strengthen the culture of
accountability and ensure transparency and results, SSP will
design measures centered on crime prevention, successful
prosecutions, administration of justice and professionalism.
Such measures will be created in coordination with civil
society organizations. In order to establish credibility and
trust, civil society will also be responsible for monitoring
the indexes.

Short on Accountability

21. (C) Mexican security expert Ernesto Lopez Portillo
expressed concerns to Poloff about police accountability for
abuses and corruption. He believes SSP Secretary Garcia Luna
is overly reliant on vetting police officers (polygraph,
drug, psychological and other tests) instead of changing the
institutions themselves. Even if vetting were the answer he
doesn't believe Garcia Luna is allowing for enough time to
evaluate over 400,000 police officials. Overall, he
believes Garcia Luna is taking on too many projects in too
short a period of time. He fears that the GOM will build up
a very powerful justice system supported by lots of
technology and equipment but too little accountability. On
that score, he worries about empowering the police to assume
greater responsibility for investigating their crimes without
holding them more accountable for abuses. He argued that
Mexico needed good civilian oversight of the police of the
variety in place in the U.S.

22. (C) Comment. Garcia Luna's proposal for reform has its
flaws but, if completed, will represent an improvement on the
current system. He seeks to transform an unmanageable array
of competing agencies with overlapping jurisdictions into one
coherent institution with clear lines of responsibility,
based on a common set of objectives and standards. He places
great emphasis on education -- key to any modern police
institution -- and on accountability, particularly in the
form of removing officials who don't pass vetting procedures.
It is also worth noting that Mexico's semi-autonomous
National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has local chapters
located throughout Mexico with whom citizens can lodge
complaints about police abuses. However, an additional step
that the reforms still need to address is doing more to
strengthen procedures to prosecute abusive and corrupt

23. (C) Comment Continued. Few in the public would fault
Garcia Luna for wanting to create an urgent timetable for
implementation of reforms. On the contrary, concerned about
the corrosive effect of organized crime on Mexican
institutions, the investment climate, and personal security,
Mexicans are impatient for change and strongly support
justice system reform and police restructuring. To be
successful, the reforms will need to allow for greater
civilian involvement in public security policy development
and in oversight of police activities. Garcia Luna has
signaled openness to both. Whether he can achieve the many
ambitious goals he has set remains an open question.

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