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Israeli Model for Policing Terrorism: Goals, Strategies, and Open Questions

NCJ Number
Criminal Justce and Behavior Volume: 36 Issue: 12 Dated: December 2009 Pages: 1259-1278
Date Published
December 2009
20 pages

This article describes the Israeli model for policing terrorism.


Israel uses a national model of policing in which all police units are commanded by the commissioner of police, who is appointed by the government following the recommendation of the minister of public security. The overarching goal of the Israeli homeland security model is implemented by the police through three activities: the early prevention, interdiction, and treatment of sources of terrorism; response activities once a terrorist attack has been launched; and the response after the attack has occurred. In performing these duties, policing terrorism aims to minimize the impacts of terrorism on the daily routines of Israeli citizens. In assessing the effectiveness of the Israeli model for policing terrorism, researchers must take into account the various outcomes that define effectiveness. They must not only take into account whether terrorist attacks are prevented, but also whether police strategies and actions have reduced the impacts of terrorist attacks that have not been prevented. The analysis of the effectiveness of the counterterrorism model of policing must also recognize that policing terrorism may have consequences for other police functions, such as the control of traditional crime and services to the public. The multifaceted strategies of policing that are designed to address the broad spectrum of crime types, including terrorism, are inevitably influenced by the amount of resources that are available to the police. When resources are limited, as they usually are, priorities must be assigned to various threats to public safety based on the magnitude and consequences of various crime threats. As police agencies around the world rush to improve their counterterrorism strategies, it is critical that these homeland-security strategies be clearly defined, along with the potential negative consequences that a focus on counterterrorism may have for other police public safety commitments. 7 notes and 79 references

Date Published: December 1, 2009