'Giving inspectors arrest powers could ease pressure on police'

Cmdr. (ret.) David Tsur, a vocal critic of the government's handling of reforms in the police, happy about proposal.

Israel police logo 88 (photo credit: )
Israel police logo 88
(photo credit: )
A proposal to grant municipality inspectors the power to make arrests received a cautious welcome from Tel Aviv's former police chief on Monday. Cmdr. (ret.) David Tsur has been been a vocal critic of the government's feeble attempts to raise police salaries and boost the numbers of recruits, but said the proposal could help ease some of the pressures on the police's resources. Until now, the right to make arrests was held exclusively by police, but a Finance Ministry sponsored bill includes a proposal to widen the authorities of inspectors, with the aim of increasing the scope of law enforcement without the need for an increase in budgetary spending. The plan calls for police to train inspectors, who are currently primarily concerned with tasks such as issuing parking tickets, how to make arrests. "I support the widening of authorities for inspectors so long as they deal with matters which do not fall into the heart of policing," Tsur said. "Issues like quality of life, noise pollution, littering, illegal parking, and minor offenses are fine for inspectors to tackle with increased powers. Now, inspectors have to call for police backup when dealing with these issues. Widening their authorities could allow officers to focus on other missions," he added. "But I am against the allocation of authorities that would enable inspectors to start dealing with drug-related or violent offenses, matters which will eventually end up in court," he added. "Policing is a profession, not a pit stop. Inspectors should not become a replacement for police - national or local. I oppose the US model, where officers fall under the jurisdiction of city mayors. We have to find a middle ground, whereby inspectors receive very limited powers [of arrest]," Tsur said. He noted that every city already has a "combined police force" which sees cooperation between inspectors and police officers. Asked if the inspectors would be armed if they receive powers of arrest, Tsur said, "Not necessarily. There are examples in the world of unarmed law enforcement personnel that can make arrests. Not every police officer needs a gun."