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Federal government to crack down on crime

Swiss justice minister, Ruth Metzler, announces tough new measures in tackling organised crime

(Keystone)

The government says it is to launch a major offensive against crime by taking on more responsibility from the cantons to combat criminals. The move is backed up by a detailed spending plan.

Swiss law enforcement bodies are to get another 425 staff as well as SFr80 million ($45 million) by 2004, according to the government. The decision follows recommendations by the justice ministry which oversees federal policing.

Starting in 2002, the federal prosecutor's office will be given an extra 80 officials, the federal police an additional 320, and the federal judiciary another 25. The annual budget will rise by around SFr20 million each year over the next four years.

The justice minister, Ruth Metzler, said: "This is another important step in fighting organised crime. The costs incurred to ensure the smooth running of the legal system are absolutely necessary."

She added: "Switzerland now has a chance to show the world it is serious about cleaning up its act as financial and economic trading centre."

A bill approved by the Swiss parliament in December 1999 allows complex cantonal and cross-border criminal cases to pass from the cantons into the hands of the federal police. In particular, organised crime, money laundering and corruption are to be dealt with by Berne.

White collar crime is also to be tackled in a more centralised manner, giving the federal police greater scope for action. The government estimates that at least another 34 new court cases against organised and industrial crime will materialise once the new style system is up and running.

Metzler's blueprint predicts that the federal prosecutor's office and the federal police will eventually merge into one organisation but with specialist investigative units.

swissinfo with agencies


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