Haiti - FLASH : 34 PNH officers killed in 9 months, an increase of more than 200%
Two thirds of the homicides were recorded in the West Department, where gang-related criminality is most prevalent. In addition, 34 police officers were killed between 1 January and 24 September 2019, compared with 17 during the entirety of 2018. The rise in criminality is creating danger zones in areas such as the Port-au-Prince neighbourhood of Martissant, where the population has begun to protest the free rein of armed criminals who act with complete impunity, in defiance of State authority.
The negative crime trends place an additional burden on a national police force already struggling to honour payments to service providers and meet the basic needs of officers, thereby limiting its operational capacities and forcing its leadership to make difficult operational choices.
Despite such challenges, the national police pursued anti-gang operations. The arrest on 22 July https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-28309-haiti-flash-the-dangerous-gang-leader-arnel-finally-captured-by-the-pnh.html of an infamous gang leader increased public confidence in the institution and had a positive impact on the perception of security by the population. This intelligence-led investigation, for which MINUJUSTH provided limited support by deploying a drone unit, showcased the capacity of the national police to plan and execute operations.
The recruitment of new police officers, with MINUJUSTH support, further strengthened national police capacity. Since the adoption of the strategic development plan for the national police, 2017–2021, three promotions, comprising 2,370 cadets, including 453 women, have been incorporated into the force, most recently on 8 August, when the thirtieth promotion graduated. These recruits have raised the number of police officers to 15,404 nationwide, 10.5 per cent of whom are women.
In addition, 67 national police officers were promoted to the rank of Police Commissioner on 1 August https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-28392-haiti-security-graduation-of-67-new-police-commissioners.html after having successfully completed a seven-month training course. While the national police appears on track to reach the target of 18,000 officers by December 2021, it will need to redouble efforts to achieve the objectives of 1.51 officer per 1,000 inhabitants (currently 1.33) and 12 per cent of women, as set out in its five-year plan.
See also :