By Paula Escalada Medrano.


Police officers renting their patrol cars and uniforms to criminals, and paying supervisors for a particular beat are some of the common corrupt practices that occur in Mexico, where there is widespread social acceptance of corruption, experts said.

"In Mexico, corruption, understood as the use of public resources for private gain, has wide social acceptance and the police are also a product of this society," Institute for Safety and Democracy director Ernesto Lopez Portillo told Efe.

"You cannot understand police corruption if you do not understand that corruption is part of life and of the cultural codes accepted by Mexican society," Lopez Portillo said.

A report prepared by the non-governmental Transparencia Mexicana organization estimated that more than 200 million acts of corruption occured each year in Mexico, with a value of more than 30 billion pesos (about $2.35 billion).

Two police officers were arrested recently in Naucalpan, a city in the central state of Mexico, which surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the Mexico City metropolitan area, for allegedly renting their patrol cars, uniforms and firearms to civilians who staged robberies in the area.

Another police officer was arrested last week for allegedly demanding money from a subordinate so he could stay on the force and patrol a specific beat.

Mexico's municipal police departments have the weakest institutional structures and are the most prone to corruption, Transparencia Mexicana director Eduardo Bohorquez told Efe.

Members of law enforcement agencies engaged in fighting Mexico's drug cartels are also more likely to become involved in corrupt practices, Bohorquez said. EFE