Report claims Police have not learned lessons from 2014 triple kidnapping

Police said the computer interface between police and the IDF has been operational since August 2017 and that enforcement on the roads has also improved.

March 15, 2018 04:53
3 minute read.
Police chat near a patrol car

Police chat near a patrol car . (photo credit: MARK PROBST / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

The Judea and Samaria Police have not implemented all of the recommendations made to them in the aftermath of the fatal kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers from a Gush Etzion hitchhiking post on June 20, 2014, the state comptroller said.

Immediately after the kidnapping, while the teens were still alive, Gil-Ad Shaer, 16, of Talmon managed to call police for help from his cellphone.

But the dispatcher who picked up the call thought it was a prank. The bodies of Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel, 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19, were found in a ditch near Hebron on June 30.

In looking at police actions over the last two years, from November 2015 to December 2017, the State Comptroller’s Office concluded that the problems with the central dispatch system in Judea and Samaria that caused the call to be mishandled, still exist.
These include a lack of manpower, proper facilities and an effective central dispatch system.

“In January 2017, more than two years after the [kidnapping] incident took place, [police] not yet completed the implementation of all the lessons learned from the harsh incident in which the boys were kidnapped,” the comptroller said.

Judea and Samaria Police said in response that they had made significant structural changes, including creating two new dispatch centers and increased manpower.

“The dispatch control center, which provides an optimal response to hundreds of thousands of civilian applications every year, has been significantly upgraded,” the police said, adding that training has also improved.

But the comptroller took the police to task for lack of coordination, computer issues, failure to properly conduct investigations, and lack of security for the officers.

From 2012 to 2015, the names of 8,000 Palestinian drivers charged with traffic violations were not entered into the computer system, making legal action against them difficult, the comptroller said.

In addition, the mechanism for sharing data among the IDF’s computers and those of the Israel Police and the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria had not been updated, the report stated.

Police said the computer interface between police and the IDF has been operational since August 2017 and that enforcement on the roads has also improved.

Regarding officer safety, the comptroller said that police in Judea and Samaria had vehicles that were not fully bullet proof and the vests officers wear do not offer the full protection needed.

Officers are therefore placed in situations where their lives are unnecessarily at risk, the report said.

Lack of proper procedures at the scene of incidents endangers officers’ lives and makes it difficult to properly collect evidence, the comptroller concluded.

The comptroller chastised police and the government for not acting more swiftly to come up with the correct procedures for investigating incidents in which Border Police officers killed or wounded Palestinians.

The police have handled these investigations when they should have been conducted by the Military Police, particularly given that these situations can involve violations of international law, the report said.

The idea to have the Military Police handle the investigations was first suggested by security experts in 2007, and backed by the Turkel Commission in 2013 and the Ciechanover Report in 2015.

The Military Police was only given authority to operate in Judea and Samaria in 2016, and it was only in 2017 that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered it to handle such investigations.

The comptroller also took issue with the use of civilian investigators to examine these incidents.

Police said in response that they had not wanted to get into the issue of investigating incidents against Palestinians and had done so only to fill a vacuum in this area.

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