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Peru ousts nearly 500 high-ranking cops

Posted on Feb 26, 12:58PM | IANS

Lima, Feb 26 : Peru's National Police dismissed 498 chiefs and senior officers nationwide as part of the measures being taken to improve public safety and combat organized crime, La Republica newspaper said.

The shake-up also included chiefs of the drug units in the country's two main coca-producing regions.

The replacing of precinct chiefs in Lima was done because the officers "don't have the profile the command needs", the PNP director told the capital daily Monday.

The measure began going into effect last week, days after a businessman and a journalist were murdered in Lima, which sparked an outcry against the government and the demand for powerful measures to improve public safety.

Interior Minister Wilfredo Pedraza said that beginning Monday an additional 1,000 cops will join operations to combat crime in Lima.

Pedraza said that this increase is possible thanks to the streamlining of the number of agents and units currently guarding top officials and other dignitaries, as well as the number engaged in administrative activities.

President Ollanta Humala said Sunday that his government has invested 800 million soles ($313 million) in police infrastructure to improve public safety.

Humala also said that $470 million have been invested in a pay raise for police and the military "so they receive a wage more worthy of them and to boost their morale".

"All of these efforts will give results progressively. Things won't change overnight," he said.