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Cracking down Over 2,000 Swiss train arrests in 2016

Transport police in Switzerland are armed.

(Keystone)

More train personnel and police presence, coupled with increased public awareness of suspicious behaviour, resulted in 24% more Swiss railway arrests in 2016 than the previous year.

The transport police of the Swiss Federal Railways processed some 2,063 arrests in 2016, compared to 1,671 the previous year, Swiss Federal Railways spokesperson Christian Ginsig confirmed to Swiss news agency ATS.

Ginsig also told Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag on Sunday that a driving force behind the trend is greater police presence on Swiss trains in response to the increased terrorist threat.

He added that both railway personnel – whose numbers have also increased in recent years – and passengers are more attentive to and aware of suspicious behaviour, and are quicker to inform others when they observe it.

At the same time, the use of video analysis to monitor Swiss trains is on the rise, with 700 more video analyses being carried out by the Federal Railways in 2016 than the previous year. Image quality is also improving, Ginsig told the German-language paper, which makes it easier for authorities to use videos to search for evidence.

In Switzerland, there are about 190 transport police officials, who can detain suspects and then transfer them to the appropriate municipal or cantonal authorities. Transport police have been working to coordinate their activities more effectively with other police forces, for example by requesting access to their information systems. They have also called for more coherent rules governing fines, to allow certain infractions – such as crossing the railway tracks without authorisation – to be penalised more easily.

In August 2016, a report by the Schweiz am Sonntag newspaper showed that the increase in train personnel and the presence of armed transport police was having an overall positive effect in reducing violent attacks on Swiss trains.

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