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Photo by: BEN HARTMAN
4 police officers removed from posts following probe into distress call from kidnapped teens
By BEN HARTMAN
30/06/2014
Police chief Danino calls handling of emergency call from kidnapped teen "a failure of the utmost severity."
 
Four police officers have been removed from their posts as part of the findings of an internal police probe into the handling of a distress call placed by one of the three kidnapped teens on the night of June 12th.

The officers do not include the “Shaham” cop performing his national service in the police, who answered the call and passed it on to his supervisors. He was found by the probe to have conducted himself as expected.

Those removed from their posts include the head of the operations branch of the Judea and Samaria district, the deputy head of district operations, the head of the police control center where the call was handled, and the shift leader responsible for supervising the dispatch center that night.

During the 2:09 call, which was received at 10:25 pm on June 12th, a single voice can be heard whispering “they kidnapped me” after which he goes silent. The call was not given the proper urgency or handed over to security services until nearly five hours later, when one of the boy’s parents reported him missing to police.

Despite that, the call was apparently perceived as being important, because the supervisor at the Judea and Samaria District Police dispatch station made a total of 8 attempts to call the number the call was placed on. Seven of these were after the line went out, and of these, 5 went directly to voicemail.

The handling of the call represented a severe failure “that ran along along the entire chain of command at the center, crossing a series of police, officers, and commanders," police said Monday.

National Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino said Monday that the incident represented “a failure of the utmost severity" and vowed to improve service at police dispatch centers, which he calls "the address the public turns to when  they face trouble".

He has also appointed Deputy National Commissioner Nissim Mor to head a team to examine the performance of dispatch centers nationwide.

Police have not handed over the tape to the press, saying that the Shin Bet does not want it published. They have however played it for the families of the kidnapped teens, a number of whom were reportedly seen leaving the meeting highly distraught afterwards.

Police said Monday that over the course of the dispatch center’s 4pm to 8am shift overnight on the 12th, they received 757 calls, of which 155 were listed as “harassing calls”. That said, they clarified that the call in question was not listed as such, nor was it listed as a distress call.

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