The phenomenon of police officers departing the ranks of the force has grown by 90 percent, police representatives reported to the Knesset Interior Committee during a meeting on Monday. Although committee members suggested additional factors such as low morale as an explanation, police and Public Security Ministry representatives said that the high departure rate was because of the low salaries offered to police. Data presented by police at the meeting indicated that in 2007, 397 police officers left the force - a 50% increase relative to the previous year, when 264 police officers quit. In the initial quarter of 2008, a total of 130 police officers resigned - a 90% increase from the same period in 2007. "This phenomenon is dangerous and weakens the police," said Committee Chairman MK Ophir Paz-Pines (Labor). "The people who pay the price, ultimately, are the general public." Police complained that the current salary plan - which pegged police salaries to those of the IDF - was problematic in a number of respects, but ultimately necessary. One of the biggest problems, they emphasized, was that salary changes in the IDF were not immediately also transferred to the police. In response, members of the Knesset Interior Committee announced that they plan to draft a new law to further secure the pegging of police salaries to those of IDF members. "We will draw up a law proposal which will regularize the relations between the police and IDF salaries so that the police won't have to continue to chase after every extra pay raise," said Paz-Pines at the conclusion of the meeting. Currently, the initial salary of a police officer during their first years of service is NIS 4,200 after taxes. "It is this demographic - police in their first three years of service - who are most likely to depart prematurely," said Lt.-Cmdr. Hilena Arad, deputy chief of the police manpower division. "The police are too small for their missions, and there is no relation between the level of dedication required and the pay." Arad, however, denied recent media reports that the police are experiencing difficulty in enlisting new members for the 1000 new slots opened this year in an attempt to improve the ratio of police to citizens. "Between 10 and 15 candidates compete for every one slot," she said.