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State comptroller's report reveals serious flaws in handling of corruption
A special report published by the state comptroller reveals severe flaws in the handling of corruption across spheres; Israel Police is found to have mishandled cases of police brutality, and the way in which higher education institutions deal with disciplinary offenses is also found to be lacking.
A special report by State Comptroller Yosef Shapira, published Wednesday, found serious flaws in police and Internal Affairs Department (IA) handling of cases of brutality. The same report raised concerning issues with regard to the handling of sexual harassment by institutions of higher education.

 

 

According to the comptroller's review, there is a structural and systemic failure in the disciplinary procedures conducted by the police, and in the transfer of information and investigation material between IA and the police, causing thousands of cases of police violence to fall between the cracks.


(Photo: AFP)
(Photo: AFP)

 

According to the report, even in cases where a disciplinary proceeding was conducted by the police, it was insignificant, and the punishments that were handed out to the police officers were from light to marginal, and they continued to serve in their positions without having to be monitored.

 

According to the report, in the last decade there has been a drastic and continuous decline in the number of disciplinary indictments filed by the police in cases of police brutality, whereas in 2006, 86 indictments were filed, 63 were filed in 2007, in 2014 only 14 indictments were filed and in 2015, there were only seven indictments.

 

Police brutality
Police brutality

 

"IA, which receives the majority of complaints against police officers, examines the complaints on the criminal and evidentiary level only, while the Israel Police only handles the cases that are transferred to it, with IA's recommendation for disciplinary actions. In this manner, thousands of complaints remain untreated… especially on the command level," was stated in the report. 

 

The comptroller made it clear in the report that police appear to believe that police brutality is marginal, but "this doesn't sit right with the number of complaints submitted and public opinion polls."

 

According to police figures, only nine police officers were fired for violent offenses in 2015, three in 2014 and three in 2013. It was found that in most cases the police decided not to suspend officers who were indicted. Moreover, it was found that police officers convicted of criminal activity were left in office on the grounds that an appeal against the conviction would be filed.

 

Hebrew University in Jerusalem (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Hebrew University in Jerusalem (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

 

Israel Police said in response: "Israel Police welcomes the State Comptroller's report, adopts its conclusions and will work to implement the issues that arose in it. Moreover, many of the comments have already been examined and adopted by the police. Among the steps taken to guide and assimilate values and norms of conduct, Israel Police operates a computerized employment assessment that examines, among other things, integrity, the observance of orders and procedures and values of police officers in the work environment across the various units… Israel Police is obligated to adopt strict standards in the field of discipline, and when exceptional findings arise, they are treated accordingly."

 

The State Comptroller's report published today also found faults in the manner in which institutions of higher education deal with disciplinary offenses of faculty members. In institutions where complaints have been filed, inter alia, on sexual offenses—the disciplinary procedures have not been exhausted.

 

Yosef Shapira (Photo: Gil Yochanan)
Yosef Shapira (Photo: Gil Yochanan)

 

In addition, 18 of the 26 institutions examined showed an increase in the number of disciplinary offenses committed by students, mainly plagiarism and acquisition of academic papers.

 

The state comptroller's findings indicate that there is currently no law, regulation, procedure or decision requiring institutions of higher education to adopt disciplinary regulations. However, an examination conducted with the Council for Higher Education (CHE) revealed that it expects institutions to do so.

 

The comptroller's examination revealed that in most institutions there is indeed a staff policy, with the exception of four institutions: the Open University, the Lev Academic Center, ORT Braude College, and the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Academic College. The state comptroller noted that the CHE must require all institutions to enact disciplinary regulations and enforce them.

 

(Translated and edited by N. Elias)

 

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