What’s going on at CICPC town?

CICPCAlmost eight months after a series of substancial reforms were announced in Venezuela’s criminal investigations police (CICPC, formally the PTJ), a brief report by the Comptroller General’s Office does not make for hopeful reading.

The biggest problem right now is that the CICPC has only 8,922 agents available and it needs at least 6,000 more ASAP.

The report also recognizes that our criminal police has “…no technical or procedural manuals to guide its organization and functioning” and also lacks the technological platform to do its job properly. Interior Minister Néstor Reverol has acknowleged the problems and says he will provide the CICPC with new equipment and at least 2,000 new agents.

CICPC’s woes are one major reason the broader criminal justice system has broken down. Bear in mind that CICPC is the only police force enabled to carry out any kind of judicial investigations. Local, state and the national police forces are “public order” bodies that can act as first responders, direct traffic or police events, but only the CICPC can work with prosecutors to collect evidence to be used in criminal trials.

The most worrying element comes from an internal report leaked to Caracas daily Últimas Noticias: 2,357 CICPC agents (almost a third of the entire force) are under investigation for various crimes. Five of them are now accused of robbing a woman outside a bank in Valencia last November.

The current limitations of the CICPC could have influenced the fact that fewer criminals were caught in fraganti (in the act) last year, according to the Prosecutor General’s annual report – which often the only way criminals can be jailed quickly, given that human rights provisions in COPP bans immediate arrest unless a crime is actually witnessed by a cop.

12 thoughts on “What’s going on at CICPC town?

  1. COPP, the little jewell Caldera left us, joined with the absolut innefficeincy of the Bolivarians and rampant corruption. It almost makes you want to never leave your house.

    • I agree with you initially.
      But looking back the Codigo de Enjuiciamiento Criminal was an acrimonious tool out of date.
      The problem with the COPP was that there was no serious work and budget to adapt a medieval judiciary (including the CTPJ) to such “first world” legal system.
      For me, there was no way back, the COPP had to be implemented, even though the reckless way in which Caldera’s administration did it compromised even further any possibilities of success.

      • Story of our life. Advanced laws getting implemented in totally un-usefull systems. What had me pissed off the most was Ortega Díaz saying you cant fix that in fourteen years. Come on.

        • With all the money they threw on the sewage, they could have set world records…
          I cannot fathom what were they thinking, if at all…

  2. Quite a few agents of the CICPC and other forces have been held up (and murdered) to steal their guns. Also it’s very common for police to apprehend suspects in the morning and the system lets them go at lunch. Could this have anything to do with yet another shortage in Cubazuela?

      • Another fearsome trend is the “asalto” where nothing is robbed, but the victim ends up dead anyway, usually shot multiple times. Somebody commented tom me that now new gang members’ mettle is put to the test by sending them out in the world to kill someone, anyone, at random.

    • Not so long ago, army major José Baldomero Peña, who was leniently sentenced to 17 years años for the 6 murders known as the Kennedy Barrio Massacre in 2005 (gory details in Spanish on Wikipedia http://is.gd/1vZ9eN), is reported as already walking around a free man by El Nacional reporter Javier Ignacio Mayorca.

      This case is in itself is an indictment not only on how the police “system” works in practice in Venezuela, but how the judiciary tops it all off. Under these circumstances one can understand how difficult things really are in Venezuela.

  3. Prison observers say that 70% of the thirty-plus thousand prisoners in Venezuela have not yet had their trial. That meansthat the regime can punish people first, with proof, or lack thereof, being an afterthought. “In flagrante” laws require an absolutely incorruptible police force, because otherwise, people can be jailed for years on police say-so.

  4. The CIPC has been understaffed/underequipped since it was the PTJ, and also has had it’s fair share of bank robbers and kidnappers amongst it members from way back when. ALthough, it must be said, by and large the PTJ was pretty clean and devoted to justice compared to other forces.

    On more than one occasion, back when it was the PTJ, I had to personally drive officers to a crime scene and/or to get a statement taken because they did not have any squad cars available. We donated 5 IBM Selectrics to the Los Naranjos (Guarenas) delegation because they could not get replacements!

    I shudder to think it has gotten WORSE since those days!

  5. And if all the CICPC agents that should be in jail were to be arrested, the shortage would be of 14921 agents.

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