Federal police and prosecutors have adopted an anonymous whistleblowers hotline, which has been running for some years in the private sector, to help combat corruption in Switzerland.
From Tuesday, members of the public can report suspicious activities to the state authoritiesexternal link without fear of having their identities discovered. Such systems are already in use in other countries, such as Germany and Austria.
A joint statement from the Federal Office of Police and the Office of the Attorney General said that “law enforcement agencies have had positive results” using a similar system in both of these countries.
“Corruption often goes undetected and those directly involved have little interest in prosecution. For law enforcement agencies insider knowledge is therefore a decisive factor in investigating and prosecuting this form of crime,” the statement read.
The Integrity Line tip-off systemexternal link has been in use in several Swiss companies since its conception in 2009, allowing employees to report suspicions of corruption anonymously.
“This is the right tool for every organisation that wants to receive reports of corruption – either in the private or public sectors,” Integrity Line chief executive Zora Ledergerber told swissinfo.ch.
However, the adoption of the hotline by police and prosecutors comes at a time when Swiss politicians are discussing new legislation to clamp down on whistleblowers who go public rather than express their concerns to the authorities.
The proposed law changes, which have been shuttling back and forth between parliament and the government since 2008, would impose sanctions on people who tip-off the media if they feel that their reports have not been handled properly by the authorities.
“The direction of the proposed anti-whistleblower legislation in Switzerland shows that politicians lag far behind both the private and public sectors in the fight against corruption,” Ledergerber told swissinfo.ch.
“Companies and government agencies are aware of the importance of whistleblowers to uncovering corruption, but this knowledge has not yet sunk in amongst political circles.”
swissinfo.ch with agencies