Jerusalem, 16 August, 2022 (TPS) — Prime Minister Yair Lapid visited Israel’s National Police Academy in Beit Shemesh on Tuesday where he promised to add an additional 5,000 police officers nationwide in the coming years. This is part of a government plan to provide greater safety and security to the Israeli public.
The government is also adding 26 reserve Border Police companies, 30,000 volunteers to the Israel National Guard, and 450 traffic police patrol vehicles and has proposed a national emergency plan for the fight against road accidents.
Prime Minister Lapid pledged that his government is “going to make the personal security of the citizens of Israel a top national priority.”
He also called for the expansion of local policing, especially in Israel’s Arab communities.
This plan is, in part, in response to public outcry over recent waves of terrorism seen in the country. Most recently, late Saturday night an Arab resident of Jerusalem succeeded in wounding 8 innocent people, including a pregnant woman, on a Jerusalem bus just outside of the Old City.
Israel has also seen a recent surge in the numbers of police retiring or simply quitting the force. Many have complained about poor working conditions and low pay. But they also complain about standing orders for the rules of engagement that police officers say tie their hands in life-threatening situations.
In July police Master Sergeant Barak Meshulam was killed when he was run over on the highway at a security checkpoint by an Arab teen in a stolen car. Angered police complained that the rules of engagement bar them from opening fire in such situations. Other police officers were murdered in recent months while trying to aid civilians during terrorist attacks.
The Israeli police also need more officers if it is to continue to successfully implement government plans to quell crime in Arab-Israeli communities as well as violence against women.
This may explain why during his visit Yair Lapid was presented with a scenario in which a patrol vehicle dealt with simulated events such as neutralizing an armed person, drug trafficking and a police dog finding drugs, suspicious objects, a sapper manually defusing a device, bursting into an apartment and undercover detective teams pursuing and arresting suspects. All of the simulated scenarios were according to the Academy training format.
The Prime Minister acknowledged that over the years the law enforcement establishment has been neglected. He confessed that it has “not received the tools it needs to make Israel a safe country for its citizens.”
Lapid said that over the past year his government already added 1,400 new police, the most in a single year in the last decade.
He also promised that “outstanding high-quality people” will be found to fill the new positions in the police and border police forces.
“Just as we restored deterrence with Gaza,” declared Lapid, “we will restore deterrence against criminal gangs, violence in the streets, domestic violence and administrative corruption.”