UNITED NATIONS PALESTINE COMMISSION

Communication Received from Colonel Roscher Lund

Concerning the police situation in Palestine

The following memorandum regarding the police situation in Palestine was received 14 April 1948 from Colonel Roscher Lund of the Secretariat Advance Party.


UNITED NATIONS PALESTINE COMMISSION
SITUATION RE POLICE IN PALESTINE

(Memorandum by Colonel Roscher Lund)

The police in Palestine is organized under a General Inspector.

It consists of a Headquarters (in Jerusalem) and six police districts in accordance with the administrative division of the country. The districts of the police are the following: Jerusalem, Lydda (H.Q.Jaffa), Haifa, Gaza, Samaria (H.Q.Nahlus), Galilee (H.Q.Nazareth).

The personnel serving at Headquarters is approximately 400-500. Of these, about fifty per cent are police personnel, the other fifty per cent are civilians employed as clerks, shorthand-typists, etc. Similarly, the number of personnel in a district H.Q. is 100-150, of which the proportion of police personnel compared with civilians is 75-25. Of the police personnel serving at police H.Q. and district H.Q.’s, on the average about fifty per cent are British, twenty-five per cent Arab, and twenty-five per cent Jewish, according to whether the area of the district is predominately Arab or Jewish. In most mixed areas Arabs and Jews work together.

The District H.Q.’s have under their command police divisions, of which there are between two and seven in each district. The divisions again have under their command a number of police stations, police posts, frontier control posts and coast guard stations, varying in number in the different districts from about fifteen to thirty.

The total number of police personnel in Palestine has varied considerably during the period of the Mandate, according to the general security situation in the country.

The strength of the police in Palestine is shown below for the years 1939, 1945, and 1948. It should be noted that the police and prison services were separated from the police in 1945 end that the figures for 1948 (23 March) already are influenced by the termination of the Mandate.

1939

1945

1948

British Officers (Inspectors included)

151

344

228

Palestinian Officers (Inspectors included)

116

133

133

British other ranks

3,069

5,522

3,359

Palestinian (other ranks)

2,549

3,434

3,115

Temporary additional police

3,736

5,840

4,711

Total

9,627

15.373

11,546

The temporary additional police in 1948 fall into three categories:

On general duties

2,323

Settlement Police

1,756

Municipal Police

632

Total

4,711

Of the regular police force for 1948, the numbers of Palestinians were: 

2,359 Arabs,

735 Jews,

and 21 others.

In addition to the regular police force, the force also includes a temporary additional police of the following three categories, all recruited amongst Palestinians:

1) Temporary additional police with general duties are to be regarded as temporary reinforcement of the regular police and occupied with the guarding of government buildings, public institutions, etc;

2) Jewish settlement police connected with the security of Jewish settlements end paid from Government funds;

3) The municipal police formed recently, with the situation after withdrawal of the British Administration on 15 May in view. It is formed both on the Arab and the Jewish side in entirely Jewish and Arab areas, particularly in towns. The force here in Jerusalem is planned to consist of 300 Arabs and 300 Jews. They work under the police in close co-operation with the mayors of the respective communities. The plan in forming, these units has been to leave behind an organized police force when the British police are withdrawn, which, to some extent, can undertake the duties of the police.

The duties of the Palestine police force are prevention, detection, and prosecution of crime, apprehension of offenders, maintenance of public order, and safety of persons and property.

To this end, the police organs are working in following branches:

C.I.D. work

Frontier control

Mounted Police (not in cities)

Foot police

Traffic police

Security police (mainly guard duties)

Transport

Wireless service.

Regarding the practical police work in contact with the population, the following facts should be kept in mind:

Arab and Jewish regular police can only be used in Arab and Jewish communities respectively. In mixed areas British police have to be used, as well as in all cases of political strife, when one side of the population is rioting against the Government. This accounts for the relatively large British police force in Palestine.

The majority of senior police officers are British as well as most of the higher administrative officers. Thus the number of Arabs or Jews with experience in this sort of work is very limited. Much of the criminal investigation work has been dealt with by Arab and Jewish Palestinian police officers because of the necessary contacts with the population and some people useful in this connection are available.

The number of Jews in the force has always been lower than its allotted proportion based on relative strength of population. This seems mainly due to the relatively low rates of payment applicable to Palestinians.

The police H.Q. stations or posts are to a considerable degree situated in Government-owned buildings, of which a list is attached. About sixty of the approximately 110 buildings were built between 1939 and 1944, as a result of the findings of the Tegart Commission. These houses were built with a view to being easily defended by a minimum force and are really small fortresses. Thirteen of these buildings also have facilities for other Government activities.

The main stores for the Palestine police have been under the control of the Police H.Q. Also the main workshops have been under the Police H.Q. and situated conveniently, not always in Jerusalem. The main workshop for vehicles is thus in Haifa. Under the H.Q. the divisions have been the store accounting units with smaller stores, for daily needs.

All police personnel in Palestine are carrying weapons, either rifle or pistol. Apart from this the police have a number of other weapons and equipment as shown in the Appendixes 1 to 4.

For the most part, police supplies, i.e. rations, petrol, and oil, etc, are at the moment obtained locally from British Army authorities. Ninety-nine point five per cent of all equipment, i.e. clothing, arms, and ammunition, vehicles, saddling, signal equipment (W/T) etc, is obtained from the United Kingdom against payment from Palestine Government funds. The 0.5 per cent, i.e. officers’ and inspectors’ uniforms, certain items of furniture, etc, are obtained by local purchase.

Expenditure on police supplies has been estimated one year in advance and has been allowed for in the annual budget.

All outstanding orders for stores placed in the United Kingdom have been cancelled and reserve stocks are low. All equipment is British. This means that considerable difficulties will arise if no arrangement with the United Kingdom can be reached regarding supplies of spare parts and replacements for all sorts of material, and, above all, ammunition for all weapons. If ammunition, replacements and spare parts for weapons cannot be obtained from the United Kingdom I doubt whether it will pay to get the relatively small quantities obtainable elsewhere. The situation on all these points ought to be investigated at once. The types of equipment involved are mentioned in Appendices 1, 2 and 4. The value of the equipment is probably more than $5,000,000.

At the end of the Mandate the British police are prepared to hand over to appropriate United Nations authorities all existing stores, material and equipment.

It should be recognized what will happen in Palestine in a given area when the police withdraw. Many public services, such as post offices, telephone exchanges, telegraph offices, pumping stations for water, courts, etc. have a mixed Arab-Jewish staff. This is equally true of certain large factories whose operation is essential to the communities, such as the oil installations at Haifa. Most of the electric generators are driven by oil, as are water pumping stations. Oil is also used as fuel for heating and cooking, apart from fuel for ours. All these activities will continue as long as the police are present to safeguard one section of the employees against the other. When the police withdraw, however, these activities will either cease entirely, or be taken over by one of the opposing groups end rash reduced.

As withdrawal by the British from Palestine continues, the Palestine police have also laid down a policy for leaving areas where no United Nations authority in present to take over responsibility. The following policy has been laid down end preparations made:

A British volunteer police force has been formed to work in Haifa and assist the British forces during the final stages of the withdrawal. This force will be withdrawn with the last of the troops.

A six months’ supply of all equipment and material has been handed out to the districts. In areas where any local authority has the power and intent to go on for half a year with a regular police force, this can be done.

Automatic weapons have not been handed out for use by Arabs or Jews for some tine, except in very special cases. In any event, automatic weapons are not regular police arms, but have only been in use by the police because of the extraordinary circumstances.

Horses and camels belonging to the mounted force have been shot, in the case of animals over twelve ye are of age, or cold, with preference for police personnel who have used the animals regularly. A number can, therefore, be re-acquired if these police officers are eventually re-employed by the United Nations.

The general procedure after 5 May regarding police organs left by the British and not taken over by United Nations authorities will be as follows:

The police Headquarters stations, posts and stores will be left with their equipment. One rifle or pistol will be left with each policeman and ammunition of about 150 rounds to carry on police duties during a short period. The personnel in any institution belonging to a minority will be removed from the institution before the British police leave, to save them from being killed.

In areas of predominantly Arab or Jewish population, negotiations with the local authorities will be conducted and the police institutions placed in charge of the community. An indeterminate number of police institutions with equipment may in this way be saved, to be taken over eventually by Government when a final decision is reached. It must, however, be made clear that a number of the institutions will be contested by both sides and probably destroyed during fighting. Whether other institutions in the uncontested area of the one or the other party will be occupied by fighting forces and the buildings and equipment used, disposed of or destroyed, in connection with non-police activities is another unknown factor.

Two matters deserve particular attention in connection with the withdrawal of the British police:

Archives Orders have been given to destroy all archives in district and divisional H.Q.’s and their subordinate stations. In the Police Headquarters in Jerusalem, however there still exist full archives of all important documents. These include, for example, finger-print archives built up during more than twenty-five years, case histories of all criminal investigations, and personal files for all police personnel who have served with the Palestine police. It will not need a policeman to appreciate the value of these archives. It would certainly be a day of joy for Palestinian criminals when it was known that these archives had been destroyed. The archives, however, represent a weight of something like 30-40 tons and cannot be removed. When the British police leave Jerusalem, the personal files of police personnel will be destroyed, the rest of the archives left behind to an unknown fate, if no one is there to take them over.

Weapons and Ammunition The police force will take armoured cars and automatic weapons to Haifa for the use of the volunteer police force there as long as it is in existence. To leave these cars and weapons anywhere in Palestine would obviously be to feed oil to the fire already raging all over the country. Theme weapons can be put at the disposal of any authorized United Nations police force arriving here. If such a force, however, does not arrive, the General Inspector must have instructions what to do with this material. He does not feel that, on his own responsibility he has the authority to destroy them, as they are the property of the Palestine Government.

During withdrawal, there will be surplus stocks of small weapons, and ammunition exceeding the 150 rounds per weapon in a number of places. These stocks (estimated at 1,000,000-1,500,000 rounds) cannot be transported and the General Inspector doe not feel he has the right to destroy them without appropriate authorization. This question is very urgent, as withdrawal is proceeding. We recommend that the Commission give authorization, if possible by telegram, for destruction of these stocks of ammunition.

We feel that the steps taken by the Palestinian Police and its planning for further actions during withdrawal, the present difficulties in Palestine being taken into consideration, have been sensible and well adapted to the situation.


APPENDIX I

ARMS

(1) Rifles

10,500 — of which 3,713 are held by the Jewish Settlement Police, 1,073 by the Arab Municipal Police and the remainder by the British and Palestinian Regular Police, Temporary Additional and Supernumerary Police and on formation charge to various Regular Police formations and in store.

(2) Light Machine Guns

680 — of which 48 are on charge to the Jewish Settlement Police and the remainder on formation charge to Regular Police formations and in store only.

(3) Automatic Weapons

1,000 — held by British Police personnel and in store.

(4) Pistols

2,600 — distributed throughout all sections of the Force and in store.

(5) Greener Guns

700 — of which 377 are held by the Jewish Settlement Police and the remainder by other formations and in store.

It will be noted that these arms are dispersed throughout Palestine, amongst all sections of the Force.


APPENDIX 2

MOTOR VEHICLES

Armoured light reconnaissance Cars

98

Locally manufactured armoured cars

14

Armoured personnel carriers

25

Troop carriers (3 ton)

68

Trucks (3 ton)

205

Trucks (8 cwt. and 15 cwt.)

32

Saloon and Utility W/T Cars

70

Saloons Utilities and pick-ups

55

Service vehicles, various, i.e, Dog Vans, water carts, Storage trucks, breakdown vehicles, ex W/T vans without W/T equipment, one ambulance, etc.

71

Motor Cycles

663


APPENDIX 3

STATE DOMAIN PROPERTIES ON CHARGE TO POLICE

DISTRICT

STATION OR POST

NEAREST TOWN
 OR VILLAGE

MAP
CO-ORDINATE

GALILEE DISTRICT

Metulla Police Post

Metulla

134

298

Khalisa Police Station

Khalisa

203

291

Rosh Pina P.S.

Rosh Fina

201

264

Jisr Binat Yacoub F.C.F.

Jisr Binat Yacoub

209

269

Nebi Yusha P.P.

Nebi Yusha

202

:280

Salha P.P.

Salha

194

277

Sa'sa P.P.

Sa'sa

184

272

Farradiya P.P.

Farradiya

191

261

Safad F.S.

Safad

197

264

Safad D.H.Q.

Safad

197

264

Tiberias D.H.Q. and P.S.

Tiberias

199

244

Samakh P.S.

Samakh

205

235

Jisr El Majamie F.F.

Jiar El Majamie

202

224

Beisan P.S.

Beisan

197

212

Shatta.P.P.

Shatta

190

217

El Hamme P.P.

El Hamme

213

233

Acre D.H.Q. and P.S.

Acre

157

259

Majd El Krum P.P.

Majd El Krum

175

258

Bassa F.P.

Bassa

168

274

Iqrit P.P.

Iqrit

176

276

Tarshiha P.P.

Tarshiha

175

269

Nazareth District H.Qs and F.S.

Nazareth

177

233

Affuleh P.S.

Affuleh

177

224

Nahalal P.P.

Nahalal

169

233

Ras En Naqura F.C.P.

Ras En Naqura

160

277

HAIFA DISTRICT

Western F.S.

Haifa

149

247

Eastern P.S.

Haifa

151

245

Yazour F.S.

Yazour

157

238

F.C. Haifa Port

Haifa

150

247

Zichron Y a'acov P.S.

Zichron Y a'acov

145

220

Qiryat Haim P.S.

Qiryat H aim

157

247

Hadera P.S.

Hadera

142

204

ATHLIT F.S.

Ath1it

147

235

Jallama P.S.

Jallama

159

236

Karkour P.P.

Karkour

153

209

Shefa Amr F.S.

Shefa Amr

166

246

Givat Olga Coast Guard Stn.

Givat Olga

139

206

SAMARIA

Nablus Rural

Nablus

175

180

Nablus Urban

Nablus

176

179

Nablus D.H.Q.

Nablus

176

180

Tubas P.P.

Tubas

185

191

Jiftlik P.S.

Jiftlik

196

172

Salfit F.S.

Salfit

167

195

Tulkarm,D.H.Q. and P.S.

Tulkarm

153

191

Qalqilia P.S.

Qalqilia

147

178

Khirbet Belt Lid P.S.

Khirbet Belt Lid

141

192

Kfar Vitkin Coast Guard Stn.

Kfar Vitkin

137

198

Tel Mond P.P.

Tel Mond

140

184

Jenin D.H.Q, and P.S.

Jenin

177

207

Lajjun F.P.

Lajjun

168

220

Silat Ed Dahar

Silat ed Dahar

169

193

LYDDA DISTRICT

Petach Tiqva D.H.Q. and P.S.

Petah Tiqva

139

167

Ramat Gan P.S.

Ramat Gan

133

166

Sidna All Coast Guard Stn.

Sidna Ali

132

177

Ra'anana P.S.

Kfar Saba

141

175

Ramle D.H.Q.

Ramle

139

148

Latrun P.P.

Latrun

148

138

Deir Qaddis P.P.

Deir Qaddis

154

151

Lydda P.S.

Lydda

141

151

Beit Dajan P.S.

Beit Dajan

133

156

Ramle P.S.

Ramle

138

148

C.P. Jaffa

Jaffa

126

161

Northern P.S. Tel-Aviv

Tel Aviv

128

165

Northern F.S. Tel-Aviv, Pal MQ.

Tel Aviv

128

165

Lydda Airport

Lydda

141

155

F.C. Jaffa Port

Jaffa

126

161

Ras El Ain

Ras El Ain

144

168

Latrun Pump St.

Latrun

147

139

Lydda Rly. Junction

Rydda

139

152

Rehovoth D.M.Q. and P.S.

Rehovoth

133

145

Sarafand El Kharab P.S.

Rishon

132

149

Qatra P.S.

Qatra

128

137

JERUSALEM DISTRICT

Bethlehem Rural

Bethlehem

169

124

Allenby Bridge

Jericho

201

142

Central Police Barracks

Jerusalem

171

131

Talat Ed Dam

Talat Ed Dam

186

136

Mekor Baruch Pal.M.Q.

Jerusalem

170

132

Bab-El-Wad

Beir Aiyub

153

136

Bethlehem P.S.

Bethlehem

169

124

Ramallah P.S.

Ramallah

169

146

Jericho P.S.

Jericho

192

140

Qiryat el Enab P.P.

Qiryat El Enab

161

134

Artuf P.P.

Artuf

150

130

Dead Sea P.P.

Kallia

109

132

Nebi Saleh

Nebi Saleh

162

158

Hebron D.H.Q. and P.S.

Hebron

159

104

Beit Jibrin P.S.

Beit Jibrin

140

113

Dahariyah P.P.

Dahariyah

148

093

GAZA DISTRICT

Gaza D.H.G. and P.S.

Gaza

098

102

El Majdal P.S.

El Majdal

112

119

Khan Younis P.P.

Kahan Younis

085

084

Iraq Sweidan P.P.

Iraq Swidan

121

118

El Jura Coast Guard Stn.

El Jura

107

120

Batani P.P.

Batani

121

130

Beersheba D.H.Q. and P.S.

Beersheba

127

072

Um Rash Rash P.P.

Aqaba

146

087

Jebel Usdum P.P.

Jebel Usdum

188

055

AIN Hosb P.P.

Ain Hosb

175

025

Tel-El-Mileh P.P.

Tel-El-Mileh

152

070

Asluj P.P.

Asluj

125

048

Kurnub P.P.

Kurnub

156

048

Auja Hafir P.P.

Auja Hafir

098

034

Imara P.P.

Imara

104

081

Khirbet Ez Zubala

Khirbet Ez Zubala

126

091

Frontier Control Beersheba

Beersheba

127

072

OTHER FORMATIONS

F.T.C, Mt. Scopus

Jerusalem

172

133

Depot Jenin

Jenin

177

207

M.D.R.S. Beisan

Beisan

196

215

Kantara (Egyptian Territory)

Kantara

Not available

MAJOR ITEMS OF EQUIPMENT

WIRELESS STATIONS

(i) Number of fixed Wireless Stations in operation

84

(ii) Number of fixed Wireless Stations in reserve

9

(iii) Number of mobile Wireless Sets in operation

97

(iv) Number of mobile Wireless Sets in reserve

42

WORKSHOPS

(i) W/T Workshops in Jerusalem and Haifa containing valuable test equipment

(ii) M.T. Workshops at Haifa and Jenin and Port and Marine Workshops at Haifa containing equipment valued at approximately LP. 15,000.

POLICE STORES

Approximate

Value

Group I

Clothing, Necessaries and Accoutrements — Other Ranks

L 162,000

Group II

Officers Clothing, Necessaries and Accoutrements.

First Aid and Scientific Equipment

32,000

Group III

Weapons, Ammunition and Bicycles

141,000

Group IV

Saddlery, Tools, Kitchen and Mess Utensils

50,000

Group V

Camp Equipment, Furniture, Bedsteads, Bedding, etc.

45,000

Group VI

Stationery and Printed Books and Forms

Group VII

Wireless Equipment and Miscellaneous Electric Stores

19,000

L 449,000

M/T STORES

At Haifa — valued at approximately

L 75,000

The holdings of all stores are decreasing daily and no replacements are being received.


Document symbol: A/AC.21/AP/35
Download Document Files: AAC21AP35.pdf
Document Type: Communication, Memorandum
Document Sources: General Assembly, United Nations Palestine Commission (UNPC)
Subject: Palestine question, Security issues
Publication Date: 14/04/1948