Failings in the Police Internal Investigations Department’s work
The Ministry of Justice’s Police Internal Investigations Department (PIID) is responsible for addressing the difficult phenomenon of police violence that exists in Israel, especially against minority populations. However, data on the closure of PIID cases over the years indicates that only 20% of complaints on police violence are investigated; that approximately 30% of complaints are closed after an insufficient "preliminary examination"; and that roughly 50% of all complaints regarding police violence are closed on the grounds that the "circumstances of the case as a whole are not suitable for criminal prosecution," despite public interest and the need to deter police officers from using force.
On July 21, 2021, ACRI, the Association of Ethiopian Jews, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Clinic for Multiculturalism and Diversity, appealed to Minister of Justice Gideon Sa’ar. In the appeal, the organizations' representatives, Attorneys Sasha Hazan-Ifrah, Shlomit Bukaya, Nisreen Alyan, Anne Sucio and Debbie Gild-Hayo, detailed the failings of the PIID’s work, and presented a series of recommendations that must be implemented to effectively combat police violence:
Establish stringent conditions for closing cases without an investigation, and establish an external monitoring mechanism regarding decisions to close cases without investigations;
Establish a very short time frame to look into the investigation files;
Develop the capacity to conduct various segmentations of the PIID’s data (such as by police stations, districts, units [Special Patrol Unit/Border Police, etc.], by origin of the complainant), necessary to systematically address police violence;
Regularly transfer data to the Disciplinary Department of the Israel Police, regarding police officers against whom multiple complaints have been submitted (even if the individual complaints alone have not reached the criminal threshold);
Determine that PIID investigations will be conducted independently of the police, and provide it with independent access to a professional criminal identification system, to that end;
Ensure protection of PIID complainants from harassment by the police officers against whom they complained.