Police chief: Terrorism, criminal activity overlapping

At Homeland Security Conference in TA, Police Insp.-Gen. David Cohen says criminals, terrorists moving from local to global networks.

Dudi Cohen Salute 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Dudi Cohen Salute 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Criminal activity and terrorism share common traits and are beginning to overlap, Police Insp.-Gen. David Cohen said on Tuesday during a Homeland Security conference in Tel Aviv.
Addressing the conference, organized by the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute, Cohen said criminal and terrorist networks were both seeking to transform themselves from local to global operations. Criminals and terrorists use the same smuggling routes to transport weapons, drugs and illegal migrants, he added, while terrorist organizations profit from the drug trade.
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Cohen said that the 27,000- strong police force has over the past decade shifted from counterterrorism as a top priority to the goal of crime fighting, due to the dramatic drop in terrorist attacks, a process described by the police chief as “the blue revolution.”
At the same time, the police’s close cooperation with the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the IDF meant that a swift response to terror threats could be delivered.
“This three-pillar approach is the secret to success,” Cohen said. “We have created special units, from the Border Police, to the Counterterrorism Unit, and a long list of others that deal with terrorism. We can provide a swift response to any incident... and this is the central feature of counterterrorism.
“We are in sensitive times as diplomatic negotiations are underway,” he continued. “Whatever their result, they will have a direct impact on police work. Our job is to provide a sense of security for all citizens and to allow the government to carry out its functions.”