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Mexican purge axes corrupt police

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    Mexican purge axes corrupt police

    By Stephen Gibbs
    BBC News, Mexico City




    Mexican authorities have dismissed almost a quarter of all traffic police in the city of Monterrey for failing corruption and competence tests.It is the latest move by the Mexican government to clean up its police forces, many of which are suspected of having links to organised crime.

    At the end of last month all 1,142 traffic police in Monterrey were pulled off duty to undergo extensive tests.

    The tests assessed their honesty, mental aptitude and medical condition.

    Their living circumstances were also reviewed - to see whether any evidence of possibly unlawful additional income emerged.

    The end results have not been good.

    More than 270 officers failed the exams outright. They have been dismissed.

    Another 500 have been sent for more training. And, in a final insult, over half have been told they are overweight.

    Extortion

    Residents of Monterrey, which is one of Mexico's wealthiest cities, have long complained that the local police are not up to the job, and in some cases are working in league with organised crime and drug cartels.

    In response, the mayor had previously imposed a ban on drink-driving checkpoints in the city - as many had been used purely for extortion purposes.

    Police officers were also prohibited from carrying cellphones while on duty, to prevent them tipping off criminals.


    President Felipe Calderon has vowed to root out corruption at every level within Mexican law enforcement, a process which the government admits might take decades.
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