'Planned cuts to police will cause more crime'

Public Security Minister Aharonovitch warns: PM's plans to cut NIS 181m. from budget will lead to more violence on streets.

Police at Tel Aviv Central Bus Station 370 (photo credit: Ricardo Mallaco)
Police at Tel Aviv Central Bus Station 370
(photo credit: Ricardo Mallaco)
Plans by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to cut NIS181 million from the Public Security Ministry's budget will result in more crime and violence on the streets, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch warned Sunday.
Although the ministry accounts for just three percent of the state budget, it will absorb 14% of overall government budget cuts, according to figures.
“There will be fewer police on the streets,” Aharonovitch said in a statement distributed by the ministry.
“This cut is a decisive blow to current working plans,” he continued. “It will harm the Israel Police.
It will harm the personal security of each and every one of us. It must not go ahead.”
The minister called the planned cuts a “blow against society, which is seeking a sense of security and a quality police presence.”
Aiming his dissatisfaction at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Aharonovitch added that it was “inconceivable that the prime minister and finance minister would now deliver such a harsh blow to personal security and to plans the prime minister himself had authorized.”
According to the ministry, police will have to shut two large police stations or four small stations if the cuts go ahead. Additionally, the force will be limited in its ability to deploy officers, and crime fighting in the Arab community will harmed “despite the prime minister’s demand for law enforcement in the Arab community.”
Border Police task forces set up to combat violence would also be disbanded, the statement said. Holding cells for illegal migrants would be shut, too, and reforms to the Fire and Rescue Service, which were trumpeted earlier this month by Netanyahu, will now face difficulties, as would programs to combat street violence, drugs and alcohol.
Sources in the Public Security Ministry said that in addition to the budget reduction, the Finance Ministry was delaying the transfer of hundreds of millions of shekels already owed to the ministry, throwing a wrench in planning for law enforcement and emergency services.