Police: Lack of funding prevents effective criminal justice

Police do not have the manpower to adequately handle all the investigations.

police car 88 (photo credit: )
police car 88
(photo credit: )
The police's ability to catch and prosecute criminals worsens every year, Investigations and Intelligence Division Chief Cmdr. Yochanan Danino told the Knesset's Committee on the Interior and the Environment Tuesday. "By every parameter imaginable, the state of the police force is the worst it has been since the country was founded," said Danino. Only one in 10 criminals is caught, Danino told the committee, because the police do not have the funds and the manpower to ensure an effective presence on the street. "When a criminal wakes up in the morning, they ask themselves, will I be caught? Then they might consider, if I am caught, will I be brought to justice? Finally they ask, how bad will that justice be? On all three counts, they know they are likely to get off the hook, and this is why crime rates are up," said Danino. Danino described the integral relationship between police officers on the street, investigators who build criminal cases, and lawyers who represent the state in court, as "deeply flawed on every level." "The rise in violent crime is a problem that affects every level of our system, from education to welfare," said Danino. Drawing on a report from 1960, Danino said that while at that time police had 56,000 active investigations, that number has since jumped to half a million. Police do not have the manpower to adequately handle all the investigations, said Danino, pointing out that Israel's population has tripled since 1960, while the police force has grown by barely 50 percent. "These three steps create a triangle, and each step must work for a criminal to be put behind bars," said Danino. Until the government decides to allocate more funds for Israel's internal security, understaffed and under-funded offices will continue to allow criminals to escape their crimes unpunished, Danino said. Such was the case with Shaked Shelachov, who was killed four years ago but whose alleged killers remain under house arrest. Her mother, Ilana Shelachov, is part of Four Mothers, a support group founded by four women who lost their children to violent crimes. "We want to see a serious change in the way police handle families during the extremely sensitive and emotional process of having a loved one involved in a violent incident," said Shelachov. She added that the group would be presenting a bill to the Knesset that would call on police to invest more time in keeping families up-to-date on the cases of their loved ones. The Four Mothers also met with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the Prime Minister's Office on Tuesday night. Last month, the group set up a protest ten outside the Knesset to draw attention to what they feel is public apathy towards violent crime. The other mothers in the group include Sarah Sapir, whose daughter Ma'ayan was raped and murdered by a Rehovot teenager; Havtzelet Amram, whose daughter Inbal was killed by a thief who stole her car; and Yehudit Mor, whose son Raz was killed while trying to defuse a fight at a party. "So many issues have been brought to my attention during this committee meeting that I feel the government must put together a committee to evaluate the police force and issue recommendations," said Committee Chairman Ophir Paz-Pines (Labor). "The government must make the decision that this is a serious problem that will only grow worse, and which must be dealt with as soon as possible."