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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra approved on Sunday the main principles of Police Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi's wide-scale reform plan for the Israel Police aimed at restructuring the force and increasing the number of street cops.
The plan, formulated by the Police Planning Division led by Cmdr. Arik Yekuel, calls for the merging of the current eight police departments and the establishment of three main police branches - each of which will be directed by a senior officer holding the rank of Commander.
"The plan calls for restructuring the police in a way that will make the force more effective," one senior officer said. "Currently Karadi is in charge of eight departments, five districts, the Border Police and other units. This plan will allow for easier and more competent control of the police force."
According to the plan, the new three branches would be: Intelligence and Investigations, Policing and Security and Logistics. The merger of the Intelligence and Investigations Departments was initiated already last year and has, Karadi said recently, proved to be successful in creating a more efficient crime-fighting and investigative body. The Policing and Security Branch will include the Operations Department, the Traffic Police and the Civil Guard. The Logistics Branch will include the police Manpower Department, the Planning Division and the Technology and Logistics Department.
By cutting the number of departments, police noted, the number of staffers with desk jobs would be cut and as a result some 200 openings would be created to beef up the districts and police patrols.
While the plan has received the approval of the top police brass, senior officers have criticized the plan claiming it would not necessarily achieve its goal of reducing the number of police staffers and increase the number of street cops. In addition, senior officers are concerned for their personal advancement since according to the plan, officers at the head of the branches would receive the rank of Commander while the heads of the departments who are today Commanders would now be Lieutenant Commanders.
"Personally it might affect my advancement in the police force," one senior officer who is waiting to receive the rank of commander said Sunday. "But overall if the plan succeeds in cutting our numbers and making us more efficient than I am in favor."
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