Mexico sacks 10% of police force in corruption probe

Federal police in Morelia, Mexico (file image) More officers could face disciplinary action in the wide-ranging crackdown

The federal police force in Mexico says it has sacked almost 10% of its officers this year for corruption, incompetence or links to criminals.

Commissioner Facundo Rosas said 3,200 officers had been fired.

More than 1,000 others were facing disciplinary action and could also lose their jobs, he added.

In a separate development, a shoot-out between troops in Veracruz state and a suspected drugs gang has left six gunmen and one soldier dead.

The firefight, in the town of Panuco, started when the soldiers went to investigate a house used by the alleged drug traffickers.

Purge

Announcing the dismissals, Mr Rosas said none of the sacked officers would be allowed to work in police forces at local, state or federal levels.

At a news conference, he said some had been accused of having links to drug cartels in Ciudad Juarez, the country's most violent city.

The commissioner said this was only the first stage of a purge of Mexico's forces.

Soon after taking office, President Felipe Calderon launched an all-out war against the drug cartels.

In many parts of the country he has deployed the army against the traffickers despite the opposition of many of his critics.

But Mr Rosas said the federal police force was also taking part in the drugs war.

He said the ongoing purge was part of a strategy to rid the police of corruption and make its 34,500 officers more reliable, as they were an integral part of the country's security forces.

The war against the drug cartels has left some 25,000 people dead since Mr Calderon came to power in December 2006.

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