The State is the ultimate guarantor of the security of its citizens, and its ability to provide this is fundamental to the very social contract that legitimises the State’s existence and the positions of elected representatives. Here we provide an overview of the institutional frameworks in place that provide the foundation of State capacities to provide their citizens with a secure living environment in which to develop their lives.
Institutions can broadly be divided between Ministries (and other administrative bodies) and their dependents, which include the operational bodies responsible for enforcing the strategies and policies developed at the ministerial level.
While each individual case varies in terms of its specific characteristics, such as the particular ministry responsible for public security issues and the structure, location and nature of law enforcement bodies, the case of Guatemala below provides an illustrative example of institutional structures in public security:
- A civilian body, it is headed by the Minister of Interior and is the leading institution responsible for public security. Its responsibilities include internal governance, the security of persons and their property, public order, and the administration of the penitentiary and migration regimes.
- Its functions include:
o The formulation and implementation of
policy in the area.
o Develop and implement public security
plans and programs, including those
civilian intelligence and organised crime.
o Propose regulations for private security
o Direct the police force.
o Maintain a close relationship with the
Office of the Public Prosecutor and other
bodies related to its area of responsibilities.
Ministry of National Defence:
- While its primary responsibility is to national security and defence, its responsibilities include supporting the Ministry of Interior and civilian operational bodies (PNC etc.) in providing a secure living space, a task it develops through coordination with the Ministry of Interior and through the activities of its dependencies, the Armed Forces of Guatemala.
Office of the Public Prosecutor:
- The Office of the Public Prosecutor is a ministerial body responsible for promoting and directing the prosecution and investigation of crimes and ensuring strict compliance with the laws of the country. To achieve this task, under its authority is the Office of the Attorney General, which is the body responsible for exercising penal actions. While technically a dependent of the Ministry of Interior, the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation is operationally part of the Office of the Public Prosecutor and assists in criminal investigations.
National Security Council:
- Responsible for the coordination and functioning of the institutions responsible for security, for approving national security policy, and for coordinating with civil society in the formulation of proposals for attention to security challenges facing the country.
Secretary of Executive Coordination:
- Collaborates with the President in the coordination of the national system of urban and rural development councils, and the system of regional and departmental councils, which seek to increase community participation in prioritizing security needs.
Human Rights Ombudsman:
- Commissioned by Congress to guarantee the realization of human rights, its functions include investigating and reporting violations of human rights and promoting judicial or administrative actions in response to such cases.
National Institute of Forensic Services (INACIF):
- The National Institute of Forensic Sciences is an auxiliary body to the administration of justice and holds responsibility for drawing up scientific technical reports and providing independent scientific advise in the area of forensics. It draws up monthly reports on violent deaths, including those related to criminal activities.
National Civil Police:
- A dependent of the Ministry of Interior and with civil character, it is the primary operational body responsible for public security. It also coordinates with the Army, who provides it with support in terms of equipment and personnel, as well as forming part of Security Task Forces, which bring together personnel from the PNC, Army, Public Prosecutors, Customs, and other law enforcement bodies.
The Army of Guatemala:
- A dependent of the Ministry of Defence, in addition to its external defence and security tasks, the Army also engages in actions in support of public security, coordinating its actions with the Ministry of Interior and its operational bodies, notably the National Civil Police. It forms part of Security Task Forces, as well as engaging in urban patrols alongside the PNC and providing support to penitentiary security. Coordination is regulated through government protocols.
Security Task Forces:
- As part of a multi-institutional approach to public security, these are bodies of the National Civil Police that bring together personnel from a variety of institutions, including the Army, Prosecutors, Civil Intelligence and Military Intelligence. They are temporary in nature, and target specific security concerns, including drug trafficking, organized crime, contraband, and the trafficking in persons, as well as seeking to increase territorial control in areas where there are high rates of crime and criminal activities, as well as in border areas. Coordination of the Task Forces is carried out by the Vice Ministry for Public Security, located within the Ministry of Interior.
Click on each section in order to discover its functions