Government hesitant on improving security for Swiss border guards

Despite a rise in violent attacks on border guards, the government is unwilling to increase the number of people patrolling the frontiers. On Wednesday, the Association of Swiss Customs Personnel petitioned the government to beef up their protection.

This content was published on March 23, 2000 - 12:57

Despite a sharp rise in violent attacks on Swiss border guards, the government is not willing to increase the number of people patrolling the frontiers. On Wednesday, the Association of Swiss Customs Personnel petitioned the federal authorities to provide better protection through more modern equipment and an additional 200 guards.

The demand followed the latest incident on Monday at a border crossing in Geneva when a guard was nearly run over by a car driven by suspected criminals trying to enter Switzerland. It was the sixth violent incident on the Geneva border alone in the last few months, and three customs officials have been killed across Switzerland in the last year and a half.

The finance ministry gave a lukewarm response to the association's petition which claimed, "federal budgetary concerns are a threat to our safety". Ministry officials said they would request an additional SFr2 million credit for better protective equipment, which would be available by the end of the year if approved by the cabinet and parliament.

The government also said it would consider extending the mandate of a special military unit which has been providing additional border security. It is due to help out until the end of this year.

swissinfo with agencies

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