Community policing plan approved

Pilot projects to expand police force to start in 14 regional councils.

A ministerial committee approved the establishment of an urban community policing network on Tuesday.
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, who pushed for the plan to be approved, said the network would be aimed at drastically bringing down violent street crime.
The municipal policing forces would be comprised wholly of serving police officers, who would operate under the command of the Israel Police headquarters in Jerusalem and coordinate their activities with local council heads.
A number of municipal inspectors will be granted expanded powers and drafted into the police after undergoing training. The inspectors will have the authority to detain suspects for up to three hours and bring them to police stations for questioning.
Aharonovitch said only a national municipal policing force could operate in Israel.
He has rejected plans in the past to create local police departments under the command of mayors
“In little Israel, we can’t have 200 police departments,” he said.
According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, “the decision is the result of a joint initiative by Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and is designed to considerably reduce the levels of violence and crime. Special emphasis will be given to quality-of-life offenses in order to increase urban residents’ personal security.” In the first phase of the program, pilot projects will be launched in approximately 14 regional councils.
“The projects will be assisted by advanced technology, including municipal switchboards and a network of cameras and sensors, which will assist inspectors and aid in preventing violence, crime, vandalism and disturbances.
These inspectors will concentrate on noise disturbances, planning and construction offenses, etc.,” the statement added.
Netanyahu said on Tuesday that “this decision is an important step and a breakthrough in the government’s commitment to increase every Israeli’s personal sense of security. I believe that the integrated model will help improve citizens’ quality of life and will create a higher level of community security.” He added that “the government has declared the struggle against violence as a main goal and will continue to act so that Israelis enjoy personal security.”