Peru Ombudsman’s Office recommends new law to improve quality of police force

Peru’s Ombudswoman, Beatriz Merino, published a report Friday, recommending a public policy for the police force, to eliminate bribery at police stations and stamp out mistreatment of the public.

In February, the new minister of the Interior, Mercedes Cabanillas, asked Merino to work jointly with the ministry to improve the police system.

Merino’s integrated proposal includes making it possible for citizens to file a complaint at a police station without having to pay any fee and without being mistreated or their complaints rejected.

According to the report, 77 percent of the 300 police stations surveyed provide no or inadequate information to citizens about how to file a complaint, particularly to report abusive behavior of officers.

Merino also urges the government to broach the issue of police wages, working hours and logistics. A survey by the Ombudsman’s Office reported that numerous police officers have not had their uniforms renewed in over four years (police have to pay for their own uniforms), and that 25 percent of police stations are in need of repair and 5 percent in need of urgent repair.

The report was developed by Merino’s team by monitoring 300 police stations across Peru, conducting hundreds of interviews and reviewing hundreds of the complaints of police corruption and abuse filed over the past several years.

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