Jose Beltrame
The security chief of the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro, Jose Beltrame, has resigned from office on Tuesday - File photo Reuters

The security chief of the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro has resigned from his post on Tuesday (11 October) amid the sudden spike in violence in the region. According to the state government, Jose Mariano Beltrame will be replaced by his deputy, Roberto Sa.

The 58-year-old former chief was best known for his pacification programme. He was behind the creation of Police Pacification Units (UPPs) that witnessed the occupation of dozens of Rio's slums by police.

The plan was initially welcomed by the locals; they also celebrated the arrest or escape of drug lords, who controlled life in their communities. However, later people stood against the programme accusing police of abusing their power.

Launched in 2008, UPPs were set up in 264 favelas or slums to strengthen up security and the rule of law ahead of the 2014 Football World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.

However, the residents of Rio alleged that security had declined sharply since the end of the Games.

According to the former chief, the first phase of the pacification programme was aimed at improving law and order and which he believed was done successfully.

"The fight against drug trafficking is a never-ending one. And it is a relay race. And I have done my part," Beltrame told TV Globo.

He also claimed that he always wanted to start the second phase of UPPs, which included social improvements for residents, but never got financial assistance.

Serving for almost ten years, Beltrame took the decision a day after a high-profile clash between police and suspected drug dealers in some of the city's popular neighbourhoods. At least three men were killed and several arrests were made in the raid on the Pavao-Pavaozinho shantytown, officials said.