Getting down to some serious study
Policemen in Mexico City are taking part in a novel project in a bid to improve both their image and their skills at dealing with members of the public.
At the end of 12-hour shifts in the city's sprawling Nezahualcoyotl district, they hand in their weapons and face a new challenge: reading Don Quixote, the classic 17th-century novel by Miguel de Cervantes.
The "Literature, Always Alert" programme is aimed at reducing corruption and violence in the force, Spanish television reported.
Luis Sanchez, mayor of Nezahualcoyotl, said the programme had brought surprising results, with the classes helping officers to overcome the stress of their gruelling shifts.
On average, 40 murders, 20 rapes and 1,000 armed attacks take place there every month, so officers are under constant pressure.
"They even complain, because we give them an hour in the classroom and they leave saying it wasn't enough time," Mr Sanchez said.
The programme's co-ordinator, Roberto Perez, said the character of Don Quixote, an old man who decides he is a knight on a mission to deliver the world from evil, was a suitable role model for the modern law enforcer.
"I think the values Quixote upheld are the values we are looking for in the police, so we can change the image people had of policemen as uneducated, lazy and corrupt," he said.
In the course of his fictional adventures, Quixote mistakes a peasant girl for a princess and windmills for giants. Likewise, distinguishing criminals from law-abiding citizens is a key challenge for police, chief superintendent Oscar Melo said.
"We policemen on street patrol see big mafias in the same way as Quixote saw big windmills," he told the TV channel.
"I feel like that, more or less."
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