End of the UPP is nigh

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“We’re just waiting for the order to get out of here.” The Pacifying Police Units (UPPs) budget cut and the law that leaves them subordinate to police battalions were, for the police, two blows by the government declaring the end of the project. On Tuesday, the vote on next year’s Budgetary Law at Alerj, which cut R$500 million from the MP, removed the little bit of hope from MPs who still saw a chance. If in 2017 the maintenance budget of the UPPs was R$5.4 million, for the coming year the 38 units will only have R$10 thousand. The total, mockingly, is equivalent to R$833 per month or R$21 per month for each of the UPPs.

“We’ve been dealing with this instability for months. We don’t know when it’ll end, the only certainty is that it will end at some point”, says a UPP police officer.

Ostensive Policing in Favelas may be Comprimised

Changes in the structure of the project can lead to an increase in the sense of security outside the favelas. This is because the group employed in the poor communities will be added to the battalion’s operational framework – currently at a shortage. Within areas of conflict, however, ostensible policing will not be seen frequently, say CPP (Pacifying Police Coordination) sources.

According to the text of Law 7.799, which was already sanctioned by the governor and currently in the regulatory phase, “the battalion commanders, to which UPP subordination was assigned, will have to add all the existing contingent of UPPs servants to their operational framework, to remove, transfer, exchange and even substitute the existing command posts.” The document also says that the UPPs will continue to carry out their activities, but that their operational framework may be modified.

The transference of the troops to the battalions can also put at stake the MPs’ R$700 salary bonus.

“The state needs to save money, and the battalions need reinforcement. The name “UPP” will remain, the community stations will continue, but ostensible policing inside the favelas will end – said a CPP source, who also notes the sad failing of social projects. – Unfortunately, this ends all articulation of social projects, which is what makes UPP what it is.

With the restructuring of the UPPs, the CPP will become a “supervisory body”, with its captain having prerogatives only in order to guide and define areas of risk, with the PM general commander deliberating the implementation or deactivation of the sites within the State. The coordinating body, which currently functions as the UPP HQ, should no longer control, for example, the Intelligence sector and the special police unit, which acts in community conflicts.

“The CPP will become a kind of Area Police Command (CPA) and should lose about 90% of its staff.”

Between PMs, there is no more light at the end of the tunnel. Many have shown an interest in leaving the favelas, given the vulnerability of poor vehicles and weapons.

“Everything is lacking. Minimal work conditions and a lot of stress. Precarious vehicles and weapons. Everyone wants to leave the favelas. UPP is an operationally failed project”, reveals a soldier.

Devalued Population

Residents living in UPP areas also did not believe in the continuity of the project. For social activist Mariluce Mariá, from Complexo do Alemão, the UPP was nothing more than an “artificial dream”. For her, health and education should have been priorities from the start.

“The security that we always needed was investment in health and education. If the state had invested more in the human being and less in this war on drugs, we would all have had a positive return. Because the insecurity within the favelas also exists outside them, but within favelas it stands out due to the lack of specific public policies. On paper, the UPP project is wonderful, every citizen’s dream, mainly those who live in an area of ​​risk. They present us with an artificial dream, which cannot be realized. Dreams can only come true when there are people committed to make them happen and that’s not what we see.”

On Wednesday, Security Secretary Roberto Sá lamented the 2018 budget cut, but said the police, “giving 2017 as an example, will seek partnerships to assist in the costs, besides establishing priority actions to guarantee service to the population”. In a statement, the secretary said that the creation of the Public Security Fund, approved by Alerj, could ease the needs of the Civil and Military police. – Source (PT)

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