A video that shows Ecuadorean police cadets being teargassed and tortured as part of a training programme to toughen them up is at the centre of a major government investigation.

President Rafael Correa, who banned extreme training when he took office five years ago, promised to punish those responsible for the cruel treatment of cadets as he launched an investigation.

The practices shown in the film obtained by Reuters, which were common before the current government came to office, were seen as a way of breaking cadets to make them mentally tougher.

A website developer in Latacunga, Alex Yaguana, told the International Business Times UK: "It is a shame they still do this as in the end it makes the police aggressive against the civilian population. During the 30 September state of emergency [in 2010] we saw police attacking civilians."

The executive director of the commission of human rights, Sister Elsie Monge, who is interviewed in the video, highights other forms of torture that cadets have to withstand to pass the training course.

Holding up a photograph as proof, she says: "[The photograph] shows how they put them on a surface with nails, they lay them on the surface and they put pressure on them. We see the pain that caused, the penetration of the nails on his skin, and not just nails but electrical charges."