Haiti National Police

The Haitian National Police (HNP) is an independent agency force that was originally organized under the directorship of the Haitian Army during Jean-Claude Duvalier's rule. By 1995 the Haitian Army was dissolved; and the HNP became an independent policing agency.

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Once Haiti had retired its army by 1995, Port-au-Prince and rural areas were left without adequate police protection. What happened next has been the single biggest factor to prevent the HNP from being an effective policing body. Former military officers (MO) of the Haitian Army infiltrated and have since influenced the politics of Haiti National Police, particularly in the area of human rights, an essential part of modern law enforcement.

This meshing of military and civilian bodies has resulted in internal chaos, thwarting reform efforts. To overcome the corruptive influence of the MOs on recruitment efforts, the administrative department of the Haitian National Police has developed a set of rules and regulations to make the HNP free of outside interference. These requirements include using the Constitution to ban government and military interference among other areas of reform.

Today the Haiti National Police retains a policing force anywhere from 3,500 to 8,500 police officers. This range demonstrates how little attention is paid to the Haitian National Police's functioning capabilities. HNP organizational infrastructure breaks down into six centrally controlled organizations:

• General and Administrative Services
• Administrative Police
• Judicial Police
• Regional Organization
• Paramilitary Units
• Coast Guard

UN estimates place the police force at 10,700 officers, perhaps the most accurate number available. The UN, who has worked with Haiti National Police since 2004, wants to raise the member-force to 12,000-14,000 in 2012.

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