Weapons in one of the towns
Weapons in one of the townsT.P.S.

Around two months after commencing his position as deputy superintendent, Tomer Eldar, chief officer of the Southern Division of the Border Police, sees himself as the right person in the right place to deal with the challenges of the day.

In an interview with the Israel Hayom newspaper, he describes how the existing problems have been neglected in recent years, with serious consequences in a variety of areas.

Eldar is originally from the tactical division, where he acquired the necessary knowledge and tools to deal with crime, he relates. The tactical unit is comprised of police officers from the Special Patrol Unit, the National Counter-Terrorism Unit, and IDF soldiers from elite units.

Asked whether things will be changing in the Border Police Southern Command due to the new situation, he replies, “When Superintendent Amir Cohen entered his position, he understood that things needed to change. The basic plan is to enhance our command and control capabilities, and for our teams to be engaging in any mission necessary.”

Eldar admits that there is still a significant shortage of manpower. “There are far more missions than there are the officers to conduct them, and far more intelligence than our ability to respond. Ideally, I would like to double the number of officers in the Southern District, which would enable me to deal with many more villages, many more issues.”

Eldar stresses that the war against illegal weapons in the south is not always appreciated. “I don’t just fight for every gun, I fight for every bullet, every cartridge, every helmet. And it’s a real war – whoever thinks we just go in and the weapons are waiting for us in the living room simply doesn’t understand the huge effort involved. Over 100 weapons were rounded up in this area this year – including rifles, pistols, explosives, and grenades. This is a large number, and a large number of officers were required to achieve this.”

Eldar also addressed the issue of weapons being stolen from IDF bases. “This is another of the issues we are dealing with. For instance, around three months ago, a large number of weapons was stolen from the Natan camp, and we succeeded in apprehending the thieves and their vehicle. What we’re doing now is readying an entire company that will be focusing on this issue.”

“Another issue is the greenhouses where illegal drugs are grown. Many of them are located in this area, near IDF bases, which tempt the growers to attempt thefts of equipment, which they can then sell.”

Regarding the lack of sense of security among the area’s residents, Eldar insists on distinguishing between the facts on the ground and the feelings of the people in the area.

“The sense of insecurity is already changing for the better,” he claims. “We made around 2,000 arrests this year, an increase of over a hundred percent from the previous year. There was an 86 percent increase in the number of people detained until the conclusion of proceedings, and an 88 percent increase in the number of indictments.”

“Agricultural crime is down 13 percent,” he adds,” and we respond to every incident in full force, sending out trackers, investigators, and drones. Things are definitely improving, and will continue to do so,” he concludes.