The Dominican Republic needs to urgently reform its national police force and tackle concerning levels of both killing and torture, according to Amnesty International.
A new report by the human rights outfit documents dozens of killings, as well as other abuses by Dominican police. Violent crime on the Caribbean island has alarmingly soared over the past decade with drug trafficking also increasing. Official statistics display that 10% of homicides last year 2010 were carried out by police.
The majority fatal shootings were described as the result of gunfire exchanges with criminals. In many cases though, Amnesty says that forensic evidence supports widespread allegations that police shot to kill, in an attempt to deter crime.
Police have stressed that high numbers of killings are partly the result of determination to confront increasing levels of crime that is mostly linked to drug-trafficking. It has also been point out that officers have been killed, with unlawful killings by the police merely isolated cases.
Countering this, Amnesty says that the problem is more widespread than Dominican authorities would like to admit - contributing to rises in violent crime. The Dominican government has been forced to acknowledge that high levels of corruption continue to be at play and that thousands of officers were dismissed from representing the force recently.