Dominican police have one of the lowest salary scales in region

SD. If one compares the salary of a policeman in the Dominican Republic with those of Central America, the country occupies one of the last places with US$153 per month. The is more than Nicaragua with US$120 but much less than Honduras (US$232), El Salvador, (US$370), Panama (US$450), Belice (US$500) and Costa Rica (US$584).

A report from the National Police of Nicaragua presented in June in Washington, makes the comparison of the salaries of the Central American countries mentioned-all said to be low-which are equal to the rank which in the Dominican Republic is called a "private", the first rung on the police pay scale.

Of the 32,767 persons which are listed on the National Police payroll in November-1,522 of whom are attached to the Police-a total of 7,211 are privates, the most numerous rank in the police force, according to what is published on line in the webpage.

Although the ranks and the manner of administrating the police corps vary from country to country, the highest salary, paid by Costa Rica, was calculated at an exchange rate of 40 to one US dollar, would be RD$23.360, which is close to the salary of a colonel in the Dominican National Police, who receives RD$21,699 at the present time. There are 347 colonels.

At the present time, the family food basket is said to average between RD$22,000 and RD$25,000 a month for a normal family.

The last pay increase made by the National Police was in January of this year, and it was a 10% increase, which meant an increase of RD$35.5 million in the budget assigned to pay the police.

At the present time, the authorities are discussing the Police Reform legislation which has been given to President Danilo Medina, and it includes a salary increase whose amount has not been revealed.

Nonetheless, for the National Budget of 2013, the National Police received an increase in their assignment, which now totals RD$10.3 billion.

But, does salary influence citizen safety?

According to the survey done by Latinobarometro 2011, Costa Rica, considered to be one of the safest countries in the region, presented a high percentage of the population that felt that the situation regarding levels of crime and citizen safety is worse.

On the other hand, the Dominican Republic showed a lower index than Costa Rica in the same study.

Another answer is provided in "the Report on human development for Central America 2009-2010" by the United Nations Development Program which concluded that the police "are overloaded, not by the low number of available agents, but rather because crime is excessively high, because their technological and logistical measures are very inferior to those of organized crime, and because their energies are dedicated to pursuing the criminal instead of preventing "crime."

"In certain cases the selection criteria have been relaxed in order to quickly increase the number of persons in the force, and for the same reason they have reduced the time and the quality of training," the report adds.

Panama has an index of 50.01 police for each 10,000 persons; Belice has 46.25; El Salvador,39.95; Costa Rica, 32.1; Guatemala, 28.6; Honduras, 22.4; and Nicaragua 17.96. Dominican Republic has about 33 agents per 100,000 population. The UNDP report says that there is no agreement about "the ideal number" of police per 100,000 of population. Some talk about one police agent for each 250 inhabitants and other talk about one for each 500 persons. The specialists are in agreement that the number of agents does not have any automatic or necessary relation with crime. The administrative structure is also important, as are the functions assigned, the distribution of police in the territory, and the technical and logistical means.

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