Civil Police – PA/Hamas

The Civil Police (PCP) is split between the PA-controlled West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza.

In Area A of the West Bank, the Civil Police is the Palestinian Authority’s main law enforcement apparatus. It handles ordinary police functions such as combating crime and upholding public order, and is also in charge of the PA’s prisons. The Civil Police has various sub-branches including criminal investigation, drug enforcement, public order, traffic, emergency response, and women’s police. In theory, the PCP reports to the Minister of Interior. It receives training from the EU’s Police Mission for the Palestinian Territories (EUPOL COPPS).

In Gaza, the Civil Police force is made up is made up of members of the armed wings of Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees (PRCs), as well as members of smaller factions in Gaza.

The Gaza police force, which was initially known as the Executive Force, was formed in May 2006 by order of the Hamas Minister of Interior Said Seyam. (Seyam was assassinated by Israel during the 2008-09 Gaza war.) The Executive Force was initially led by the PRC‘s Jamal Abu Samhadana and allowed Hamas to administer executive power after Fatah security forces refused to work under the authority of the Hamas government. The dispute was a precursor to the subsequent Fatah-Hamas fighting that erupted in June 2007.

The police in the West Bank is headed by Major General Youssef al-Helou. The police in Gaza is headed by Major General Tayseer al-Batch.