We Appealed to the State Comptroller: Oversight of Border Police Activity Warranted
The Israel Border Police is a hybrid military-police force primarily made up of soldiers, whose combatants undergo military training and are equipped with excessive means of force. Nevertheless, the Border Police operate in various realms of “civilian” policing and enforcement, whose role is expanded on an ongoing basis through the blurring of “civilian” and “security” aspects. Moreover, the expansion of the Border Police’s role over the years has created a situation in which the majority of the unit's activity within the state's borders focuses on Arab society, while the Jewish population only encounters Border Police officers on rare occasions. Border Police activity among Arab society is expected to further expand in the coming year, following the implementation of the “Plan to Tackle Crime and Violence in Arab Society,” which is expected to lead to an expansion in Border Police combatants’ involvement in “routine” criminal enforcement.
While the Border Police currently make up approximately one-fifth of the police force, it has not been subject to significant oversight and supervision in recent years, according to State Comptroller reports, and very little is known about this unit. We thus appealed to the State Comptroller regarding the need to conduct an audit of this unit's police activity. In the appeal, attorneys Gadeer Nicola and Anne Sucio listed a number of issues that the auditor should consider, including: the Border Police’s consent to operate within the state’s borders on routine policing of civilians and residents; the process of expanding the roles delegated to the Border Police; the distinction between military-security related activity and civilian-police aspects of the unit's work and regulations; Border Police accountability mechanisms; activity in relation to Arab society and residents of East Jerusalem; and means of contending with demonstrations and riots.