Dec 1947-April 1948
Pages in Section 12
Disbandment of the Police Mobile Force
i. UNSCOP begins
ii. British Alienate UNSCOP
iii. The Two Sergeants
iv. Disbandment of PMF
v. Life at Bassa Tegart 1947
vi. UNSCOP's Partition Plan and UN vote.
vii. Police Reactions to UN Vote
For a group of British mobile police temporarily based at the Citrus House security compound in Tel Aviv, already whipped into a fury by Ben Hecht's open letter to Jewish insurgents, cooped up inside billets with nothing to do but stoke up their resentment, the hanging and the booby-trap was an event too far.
They drove into Tel Aviv in six armoured vehicles, opened fire on two buses, killing one Jew and injuring three others on the first bus and killing three more Jews on the second. They also beat up passersby, smashed shop windows, and raided two cafés, detonating a grenade in one of them.
Five Jews were killed and 15 injured in these incidents. In one café, the mobile police attempted to abduct a Jew, but were beaten back by customers. At a funeral for some of the Jews killed in the police reprisals, mourners and police clashed again with 33 Jews being injured.
Police investigators examined all the PMF's armoured cars' guns and ammunition, but the guns had been cleaned and ammunition replenished. They interrogated all members of the mobile patrols but they refused to divulge any information.
A few policemen were disciplined, but no criminal charges were ever brought which was duly noted by UNSCOP and created the impression on the general population, that there was one law for Arabs, another for Jews and yet a third for the British.
Finally, however, the police authority realised its error in giving British police recruits paramilitary training rather than placing the emphasis on their role as keepers of peace and justice and disbanded the Police Mobile Force.
Life at Ground Level - Bassa Tegart 1947
Text Copyright Margaret Penfold, BA Hons, Dip Ed, British Palestine Police Association