Don’t Extend the Municipal Policing Pilot Without Testing
In August 2011, the Knesset passed the “Municipal Policing Law”, under which municipal inspectors were given special authority to prevent violence, including the authority to demand a person to identify themselves and to conduct a full body search on them. Due to fears of the privatization of the police and violations of equality and civil rights, the project was categorized as a temporary pilot that would take place in only 13 local authorities, so as to conduct a thorough test of its efficiency and necessity in light of the issues it presents.
Despite many reservations about the law, the pilot has been extended time and time again throughout the years, and the list of local authorities included has been extended from 13 to 71. Meanwhile, none of the supervision and tests mandated in the law have taken place on the ground, and furthermore, various issues and criticisms have been given against it - in the State Comptroller’s Report, in the opinion of the Attorney General of the Interior Committee, in the position papers of public organizations and the Public Defender’s Office, and in media publications.
On 9.6.2020, ACRI appealed to the Knesset’s Interior Committee prior to a debate on a bill proposing another extension of the pilot. In the appeal, Attorneys Debbie Gild-Hayo and Anne Suciu called upon the Interior Committee to stop automatically approving the project every year without fulfilling their role - conducting a meaningful and thorough examination of the project. Alternatively, ACRI called upon the committee to extend the project for a period of six months only (and not a year and a half as requested), during which the committee will hold a series of debates to examine the projects and its inherent failures.