Brazil to close half of its 'peace police' units in Rio

The decision, announced late Friday, will see 12 of the 38 so-called pacification police units (UPP) shut down and seven others merged into existing operations.

Brazil to close half of its 'peace police' units in Rio

World Bulletin / News Desk

Brazil is to close half of its "peace police" units operating in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, the government has said, referring to a 10-year-old project that had once raised hopes for restoring order in the city's crime-ridden slums.

"Nobody wants to close the UPP. But were these units actually meeting their objectives? Let us be realistic -- they weren't," said Public Security Minister Raul Jungmann in announcing the closure.

The UPP units were first introduced in 2008 in a bid to "pacify" the city's main favelas and force out drug traffickers ahead of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

The idea was to create a local force of police officers specially trained to handle violence and drug problems, who would live and patrol in their communities, winning locals' trust and displacing the traffickers.

Over the past decade, 38 such units were deployed to police 264 impoverished, crime-hit neighborhoods housing more than 1.5 million people.

Initially, the strategy appeared to work, with violence declining in these areas.

But in 2013, allegations began emerging that the peace police themselves were involved in corruption and arbitrary actions.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Nisan 2018, 15:55