David Cohen
David Cohen. Photo by Moran Ma’ayan / Jini
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RAND Corporation, the California-based research and development organization that got its start during World War II as part of the Douglas Aircraft Company, has been commissioned to conduct a study of the Israel Police that will examine the force's effectiveness and its power structure.

A second study, by the Israel Police and the Ministry of Public Security, will focus on streamlining construction, purchasing and procurement policies in an aim to cut police budgets. Taken together, the two studies will examine every aspect of the police force. Both studies will be carried out simultaneously.

McKinsey and Co., a U.S.-based international consulting firm, recently reviewed procurement and purchasing procedures in the Israel Defense Forces, without looking at operational aspects. That study was imposed on the army as part of the implementation of recommendations made by the Brodet Commission, established in the wake of the 2006 Second Lebanon War, and did not have the full cooperation of top IDF officials.

Of the two types of studies, the one looking into the force's efficacy and power structure - the operational study that RAND was hired to conduct - is considered more important.

"There are police forces all over the world, and the essence of policing is similar," explains Danny Karibo, director of the planning, budget and monitoring department in the Ministry of Public Security.

'It's complicated'

"In contrast to armies, each of which faces different threats, when it comes to policing there are no critical differences, in terms of missions, between Sweden's police and the Israel Police. For that reason the international experience an organization like RAND Corporation can bring to our police force is very important," Karibo says.

Karibo says the U.S. think tank will examine several aspects of police operations: deterrence (what tactics that have improved the deterrent capabilities of other police forces could be adopted by the Israel Police ); performance measurement (how should police achievement be measured ); perception of police performance (community-police relations ); and dealing with antisocial behavior (evaluating Israel's City Without Violence program ).

Karibo notes that with an annual budget of NIS 7.5 billion and a force of 20,000-25,000 officers, the Israel Police is one of the largest organizations in the country, and one of the most difficult to administer. "For years there has been a dispute between the police and the Finance Ministry over whether the force is effective and whether it has enough officers. Now we'll have an agreed, international answer to this question," he said.

The RAND study is expected to cost about $1.6 million and to take two years to complete. The Finance Ministry will pay half. The remainder was raised by RAND from a Jewish-American philanthropist interested in supporting public administration in Israel. According to Karibo, the donation was approved by the Ministry of Justice.

The estimated cost of the internal economic-strategic study, which is also expected to take two years, is a few million shekels. The Public Security Ministry plans to issue a tender for the project. This study will focus on the economic side of Israel Police activities, including construction and purchasing.