Alshich: Police ‘Summarize Cases,’ They Don’t ‘Recommend Prosecution’

Police Chief Roni Alshich. (Avshalom Sasoni/Flash90)

A bill that would ban police from making recommendations to prosecutors on whether or not to file charges against suspects who were the subjects of police investigations is a bad idea, Israel Police Chief Roni Alshich said Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference during a break in a Knesset session he was attending, Alshich said that it was not clear what the legislation was about, since “today we do not make recommendations as it is. As far as prosecutions are concerned, we provide a summary of a case and inform prosecutors whether there is enough evidence to proceed in a case.” That, Alshich said, was not the same as making “recommendations” on pursuing cases.

The law is an outgrowth of the “French Law,” which would prevent a sitting prime minister from being subjected to police inquiries. The law against police recommendations was to be a companion to that legislation.

Likud whip MK David Bitan is determined to bring that law regarding police inquiries of a sitting prime minister, to a Knesset vote, even though it is opposed by several coalition partners, especially Jewish Home — but, in contrast, all coalition partners support the law against police recommendations.

Chief Alshich said Tuesday that the decision to prosecute was totally up to prosecutors, who made their decision on the basis of the public good. “It is up to them, and in none of our official documents do we make recommendations, as it is not our job.”

With that, he added, police needed to be able to provide information on whether the evidence exists to proceed with a case. “You can’t complete an investigation without a summary, otherwise you are leaving it in the hands of prosecutors to complete the investigation. Is that what we want?” A summary and comment on the evidence “is a clear sign that an investigation is complete. It is based on that information that a determination is made if further action is necessary in a case.”

Last week, Netanyahu’s office criticized Police Chief Roni Alshich for failing to follow through on a promise to stop making recommendations, as he committed to when he first took office. Bitan believes that Jewish Home, Kulanu, and all other coalition partners will readily support the bill, and that it would have a similar effect on investigations as the bill to exempt a prime minister from police investigations, as prosecutors will be free to make up their mind on the evidence, and not feel pressure from police, who, government officials say, inevitably recommend prosecuting anyone under investigation.