'Police failed to make key changes after murder of 3 teens'
State comptroller criticizes police for not taking necessary steps advised by a fact-finding committee in the wake of 2014 kidnapping and murder by Hamas terrorists of Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrah; 2 years after incident, police had still not implemented conclusions, report says; police: ‘We welcome the report.’
The conclusions drawn by a fact-finding committee established, in the wake of the June 12 kidnapping and murder of Gil-Ad Shaer (16), Naftali Frenkel (16) and Eyal Yifrah (19), were supposed to improve the functionality of the Judea and Samaria District Police central command headquarters.
The bodies of the three teens’ bodies were found in a ditch north of Halhul in the Hebron area.
During the incident, one of the teenagers managed to call the Judea and Samaria District Police after being crammed into a vehicle and report the incident, but the operator failed to take the call seriously.
Following the kidnapping, the then Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino set up a fact-finding committee to look into the police’s conduct in the initial stages of the incident.
According to the committee’s published findings, “the Judea and Samaria Police District’s Operational Headquarters should have compiled the various reports, coordinated between the different police districts and reported to a senior commanding officer ... about the unusual incident.”
The committee recommended, among other things, “adding more officers with experience in the field that can be demonstrated in the manner in which the control center deals with things in different instances.”
In addition, it was recommended that professional training be conducted for all police officers in the Judea and Samaria District Police control center.
The state comptroller told the police that the main lessons that had emerged from the investigation were about the need to improve the functionality of the 100 emergency hotline, with an emphasis on the improvement of technology in the centers, and that the Israel Police must promote the changes as soon as possible.
Shapira also told the police that on the day of the completion of the findings, January 2017—2 years after the incident—the police had still not implemented the conclusions. Furthermore, he warned that the situation as its stands could harm the abilities of the local forces to respond efficiently to emergency incidents and therefore have a negative impact on the public’s faith in the police.
Therefore, the state comptroller has urged the current Police Commissioner Ron Alsheikh to take urgent action to implement the required steps to improve the functionality of the control centers of the Judea and Samaria District Police based on the report’s conclusions.
The state comptroller also took issue with the building in which the control center is currently located. Since the control center is unprotected and has no alternative center, he wrote, the operational capacity of the district may be impaired, and its ability to maintain functional continuity during an emergency may be compromised.
Therefore, he emphasized the importance of the creation of a permanently housed and fortified structure for the control center.
Responding to Shapiro’s findings, the police said it “welcomes the report by the state comptroller, is adopting its conclusions and will act to implement the matters that are raised in it.
“Moreover, a large proportion of the statements that were made in the report were examined and adopted by the police before its publication as a result of monitoring and learning processes conducted by the police on a regular basis.”
Regarding the Judea and Samaria District Police’s control center the police said: “In the context of organizational processes that began in 2016 with regard to building of forces, they were carried out and more significant organizational changes are expected in the locality, including the building of two new police stations and the adding of standards and manpower for optimal coping with the various challenges.”
The local control center that provides a comprehensive answer to hundreds of thousands of calls by civilians every year, the statement continued, “has undergone a significant upgrade and today all control center officers are graduates of professional training.
“Moreover, in the near future a new and fortified control center is expected to start being built. In accordance with the challenges faced by the the Judea and Samaria District Police and the various threats, in the last few years comprehensive staff work has been carried out in the field of armored vehicles, while examining the various alternatives in a manner that will provide an optimal and professional long-term solution.”