TEL AVIV - Too many Israeli security guards are taking their weapons home with them, a move that could be dangerous and cause accidents, a government committee said on Wednesday.
In addition, the guards are undertrained and under supervised, said the group, headed by retired police commander Danny Brinker.
The committe is expected to present its findings to Interior Minister Ophir Pines-Paz and Internal Security Minister Gidon Ezra.
About 40,000 handguns and rifles exist in Israel today. Approximately 120,000 people are licensed to handle weapons and work as armed guards in Israel, and about 60 percent of them work in the security field.
The committee said Israel must prevent security guards from taking weapons home. It recommended reducing the number of special permits issued for security workers to carry weapons outside work hours, while at the same time adding roadblocks at guarded sites and finding alternatives to weapons handling.
Accidents waiting to happen
The committee said allowing guards to take weapons home could cause accidents.
"Most tragedies and accidents happen when weapons leave the guarded area," said the report. In addition, the training received by most security guards is not sufficient, and there is not enough oversight. The current situation cannot be allowed to continue, and we believe the situation must be changed immediately."
The committee found that there is no official body to review the level of training that security guards receive. Guards are reviewed only by their employers, meany of whom often try to save money at their expense.
"Each private security company sets its own standards, and there are no governmental requirements governing selection or training. Therefore, each company makes its own choices, according to economic reality," said the report.
Like civilians, security guards are not required to undergo background, medical or psychiatric checks, when they apply for a gun license.
"We believe that without medical input into the selection of security guards, we are failing to prevent serious problems in the future stemming from mental problems," the committee said
More power to interior ministry
The committee recommended concentrating handgun licensing authority with the Interior Ministry. It currently lies in the hands of the ministries of justice, interior and internal security.
The committee also recommended establishing clear criteria for different jobs in each security firm. Each employee would be required to register with the Internal Security ministry and the police.
In addition, several duties currently with security firms would be transferred to the police and security guards wishing to carry firearms outside of work hours would be required to undergo special background checks and training.