State Comptroller: Israel Police Don't Enforce Law Properly in Arab Communities

Understaffed stations in less populated areas and unmet goals to improve services to Arab communities are criticized in the state comptroller's new annual report.

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
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Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

Most police stations across Israel suffer from personnel shortages, particularly the crucial position of patrol officers, according the state comptroller's new report. Beyond the overall staffing deficit, the Israel Police failed to efficiently allocate that staff: The state comptroller pointed out that some stations had too many patrol officers while others are severely understaffed.

Understandably, in the larger cities, all police positions were filled and some stations had excess personnel. Meanwhile, stations in the geographic periphery of the country were more likely to have vacant positions. Of the 3,517 patrol officer positions required by the Israel Police, 3,410 were filled.

The state comptroller also found fault in the way the Israel Police deals with the Arab population. Following the launch of the Second Intifada, in October 2000, the police drafted a multi-year plan that was supposed to lead to a deployment of the Israel Police in the Arab population that would improve service, giving it parity to the level of service provided to the Jewish population, with a focus on crime prevention and reduced law-breaking.

According to the plan, 10 new police stations were to be established with patrol officers, investigators, special patrol units and detectives. The plan also included the establishment of 14 other precincts and 72 neighborhood watch stations. But the police built only one new station of the 10 planned. It established only 35 new neighborhood watch stations and not one of the planned precincts.

The Israel Police received the state comptroller's report and said it will study the report's findings.

In response to the criticisms mentioned in the report, the Israel Police said that stations have been strengthened with additional resources.

In regard to its relationship with the Arab community, they said that last year, the police focused on improving and strengthening services among the Arab population. As part of this process, agencies were established, interpreters were recruited, and the public information and enforcement systems within the community were reinforced.

The Israel Police also said that the process of establishing northern and coastal districts outside of the heavily populated center of the country was completed, leading to a reduction in violent incidents, shootings, and serious and lethal road traffic accidents in these areas.

Israel Police in East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.Credit: shiran granot

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