Police Chief David Cohen 248 88 aj.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Eighteen local authority heads and dozens of police officers are being threatened by criminals, Police Insp.-Gen. David Cohen said during a meeting with Union of Local Authorities in Israel Chairman Shlomo Buhbut on Thursday.
Cohen said police were facing threats from criminals "due to the daily friction between police and the criminal population.
"As part of the 'blue revolution,' 99 percent of police capabilities today have been directed to crime fighting. The whole of the Border Police is involved in crime fighting," Cohen added.
Sixty-three police officers have received threats from criminals in varying forms, a police source told The Jerusalem Post last week, and a special unit has been set up under the auspices of the Israel Police Operations Branch to provide the officers with protection.
The unit is overseen by Cohen, and is run by the Head of Security for the Israel Police, Dep.-Cmdr. Yisrael Singer.
Last month, Singer said a hi-tech kit, which includes a specialized camera, would be provided to threatened officers.
Open and undercover protection is given to threatened officers, including surveillance of their homes and work places and the monitoring of the movements of family members.
According to an Israel Radio report broadcast last week, children of threatened officers are taken to kindergarten by members of the Police Protection Unit.
During his meeting with Buhbut, Cohen came out against the proposition to create municipal police forces that would be subordinate to mayors, preferring the creation of local police departments that would remain under the authority of the national police.
"The State of Israel has one military, one Israel Security Agency [Shin Bet], and one national police," he said.
He added, however, that he supports steps being taken by Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch to strengthen the police through the creation of city policing.
"We believe in cooperating with local authorities. We have the same goals," Cohen added.