The number of Colombian policeman arrested in an offensive against corruption in the force has risen to 25, local media reported.
Three officers were caught extorting a merchant in the municipality of Candelaria in Valle.
Local radio station Blu reported that one of them was even in uniform when arrested.
The three officers are charged with conspiracy to commit crime, aggravated robbery, extortion, embezzlement, and bribery.
Five other officers were also arrested in the municipality of Apartado and charged with extortion.
In total 24 Colombian police officers have now been arrested in just under two days on charges relating to corruption.
The purge comes as a result of a new “Transparency Plan” initiated this week by Colombia’s National Police Director General, Rodolfo Palomino.
“Since becoming Director General one of my priorities has been to guarantee the ethical and professional behavior of the Colombian Police,” Police chief General Rodolfo Palomino said.
He noted that the operations lead down a path of no return, one that he hopes will help the Colombian police force to keep its members “to continue walking the roads of legality,” away from “the demons of ambition [and] the siren song of corruption.”
He hopes that the news of police being arrested for corruption will not be viewed negatively by the public but rather as a manifestation of a commitment to upholding integrity within Colombia’s national police.
This is a valid concern as members of the police force are currently under arrest for protecting a mafia boss. More telling than the recent arrests will be the trials and consequences. In a country used to hearing of officials either escaping punishment or otherwise being able to manipulate their case, the investigations and trials resulting from these arrests may prove more important than the arrests themselves.