23 Dec 2011

Municipal police force disbanded

12:26 pm on 23 December 2011

An municipal police force in Mexico has been disbanded as part of a campaign to end corruption and improve security against drug gangs.

The Mexican navy is taking over responsibility for law enforcement in Veracruz-Boca del Rio, which includes part of the city of Veracruz.

Navy troops backed by federal police officers are now patrolling the streets. More than 900 police officers no longer have jobs.

State governor Javier Duarte said the decision to disband the force was part of a national programme to reform the police. He did not say how long the navy would be in charge.

The BBC reports hundreds of marines were deployed in Veracruz-Boca del Rio after 35 bodies were dumped on busy road in the middle of the day in September.

Two weeks later the navy found another 32 bodies in three different buildings.

The killings are thought to be the result of a battle for control of drug-trafficking routes between the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel - two of Mexico's most powerful drugs gangs.

Federal police and the military have taken over security in a growing number of municipalities across Mexico because police are unable to cope with the power of the drugs gangs.