Cantonal police forces are to be beefed up in the next few years, with the recruitment of another 600 officers, the Conference of Cantonal Justice and Police Directors confirmed on Monday.
The police union, the Swiss Federation of Police Officers, says the figure is not enough, but that it is a move in the right direction. Union chairman Jean-Marc Widmer told the Swiss News Agency that the police themselves wanted to see numbers almost doubled, from 16,000 to 30,000.
The union says that its members are overburdened with paper work which could be done by non-police staff, and would cost less. It would also like to see non-police personnel used for such tasks as accompanying prisoners during transfers, or for surveillance.
Roger Schneeberger, secretary general of the cantonal police directors, told the Swiss News Agency that practically all the 26 cantons were planning to increase police numbers, and most of the new posts had already been approved by the relevant parliaments.
Geneva plans to increase the number of its police officers by 250 by the end of 2014, for example, while Vaud, which has already created 122 new posts since 2006, intends to recruit another 98 by 2017. Some cantons, like Neuchâtel and Jura hope to benefit from the synergies created by the merger of their forces.
The police in Switzerland are organised at cantonal level. The only police at federal level belong to the Federal Office of Police, which deals only with criminal investigations on behalf of the Federal Prosecutor’s office, and with security cases.
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