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Costa Rica’s police force plans to add 1,000 officers

January 10, 2017

The Costa Rican government plans to take more than $80 million dollars (₡45 billion) from the revenues that would be generated by a new tax law to increase public security across the country.

The increased security efforts come as part of a new corporate tax policy approved by lawmakers in first debate in a recent Legislative Assembly session. Of the ₡45 billion the bill is expected to generate if it is approved in second and final debate and becomes a law, the goverment will allocate 90 percent to the Public Security Ministry, while the remaining 10 percent will be split between the Justice Ministry and the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ).

The bulk of the Public Security Ministry funds will go to the National Police Force, which will use it to put 1,000 more officers on the streets and purchase new equipment, according to a news release from the Costa Rican government Monday.

Presidency Minister Sergio Alfaro said in the statement that the bill is “vital to guarantee the security of Costa Rican citizens.”

“We extend our appreciation to lawmakers for passing this vote for the well-being of the country,” Alfaro said, urging legislators to hold the second-debate vote on the bill as soon as possible, since the tax change will not take effect for three months after its official publication. “The sooner it can be officially passed, the sooner we can dole out those resources for public security.”

Public Security Minister Gustavo Mata also expressed gratitude to Costa Rican lawmakers for the potential increase in funds, saying that the money will go to specific programs to modernize patrols all over the country.

“We can invest this money in radar and boats to combat the drug trafficking happening in the Caribbean, hiring more officers, improving our delegations and adquiring the technology that the ministry needs,” Mata said.

The bill, No. 19,818, was discussed by the Finance Commission and was put on the fast track to expedite the legislative process.

In 2016, Costa Rica saw record highs in violence with 577 reported homicides and nearly 448 accident-related deaths.

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