Country Listing

Peru Table of Contents




Figure 17 Organization of the National Police, 1991

Source: Based on information from "Nuevo Esquema," Caretas [Lima], No. 1169, July 22, 1991, 20.

Peru's police forces (FF.PP.) date from the days of Simón Bolívar in 1825 but were formally organized as a responsibility of the central government in 1852, with the establishment of the Gendarmerie. From this force, a Republican Guard (Guardia Republicana--GR) was created in 1919, with specified duties related to border patrol, prison security, and the protection of establishments of national importance. A reorganization was carried out in 1924 under the aegis of a Spanish police mission; the new plan created the Civil Guard (Guardia Civil--GC) as the main national police force (the Republican Guard retained its specialized responsibilities) and a plainclothes investigating and forensic group known as the Investigative Police of Peru (Policía Investigativa de Perú--PIP). The constitution of 1979 designated the president of Peru as the head of the police forces and armed forces, but with administrative responsibility for all of the police continuing to be vested in the Ministry of Interior.

After a number of problems in the mid-1980s, which included allegations of corruption, a large spate of human rights violations, and a massacre of inmates (mostly SL members) in Lima prisons in June 1986 after they had surrendered following a riot, President García initiated a reorganization of the police forces that resulted in the creation of the new National Police (Policía Nacional--PN) on December 7, 1988. It encompassed the General Police (Policía General--PG, formerly the GC), the Security Police (Policía de Seguridad--PS, formerly the GR), and the Technical Police (Policía Técnica--PT, formerly the PIP), all of which remained under the authority of the Ministry of Interior (see fig. 17).

The multiple challenges faced by the police forces during the 1980s included rising crime rates, work stoppages, attacks on public buildings and installations, drug trafficking, and a growing guerrilla insurgency. These challenges contributed to a number of crises for the police (detailed later) but also to their expansion in personnel from 46,755 in 1980 to 84,265 in 1986 and about 85,000 in 1991 for the entire PN. By 1992 PN strength was reduced to 84,000. All personnel were recruited by voluntary enlistment. These figures included a small but indeterminate number of policewomen. Among the special duties policewomen performed were the staffing of a special police center set up in Lima in 1988 to provide assistance to abused spouses and children. In addition to the PN, Peruvian cities employed municipal police for minor duties in the city hall and other city buildings and for overseeing the cities' public markets.

Data as of September 1992