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New federal police force planned for Switzerland

The Swiss justice ministry has announced plans to introduce a new federal police force. The unit, due to start operating next year, will focus on terrorism as well as illegal trading in arms and radioactive materials.

The creation of a new federal police force is part of a wider effort to streamline investigative operations, which are currently the preserve of individual cantons.

A small federal force already exists, but it focuses almost exclusively on counter-intelligence.

A key element of the new federal force will be a special analysis and prevention unit charged with gathering intelligence about threats to national security. The unit will focus on terrorist activities, spying, violent extremism, illegal arms trading, radioactive materials and technology transfers.

It will also pass on intelligence to local police forces and government departments, and provide regular assessments of the internal security situation in Switzerland.

Swiss voters have rejected proposals for a national or federal criminal force on several occasions in the past. But the new force is not expected to generate much public opposition because it will not require major increases in personnel or funds.

swissinfo with agencies

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