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Foreigners to be allowed to join Graubünden police force

Two Graubünden police officers
No passport? No problem: canton Graubünden in eastern Switzerland will soon be recruiting police officers who do not have Swiss citizenship. Canton Graubünden

Canton Graubünden in eastern Switzerland will soon be recruiting police officers who do not have Swiss citizenship. A settlement permit (C) will be sufficient to register for the aptitude tests as an applicant for the cantonal police.

It will thus become the fifth of Switzerland’s 26 cantons – after Neuchâtel, Jura, Basel City and Schwyz – to do so.

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The cantonal government had decided to change the recruitment procedure in order to allow the cantonal police to recruit sufficient young people, it said in a statementExternal link on Tuesday. “The high personal demands placed on police trainees remain unchanged,” it added.

The cantonal government pointed out that in order to be able to hire enough new recruits, many police forces, including in Graubünden, had adjusted or abolished various requirements such as minimum height and age in recent years.

The Graubünden cantonal police force has around 400 officers. Each year 15-25 trainees complete their training.

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Cantonal differences

The employment of non-Swiss officers in the cantonal police force has been possible since 1996 in Basel City, the pioneer canton in this respect. Schwyz followed in 2001, Jura a year later, and Neuchâtel in 2007.

In the past ten years several other cantons, such as Vaud, Bern and Solothurn, have considered the possibility of opening their police forces to holders of a C permit, but have decided not to do so.

In canton Zurich, the city of Zurich wanted to open its police force to foreign applicants with a C permit. These applicants would then have to obtain Swiss citizenship to join the force permanently. This principle was already being in the city of Winterthur. However, the cantonal government blocked the plans of the two cities by approving a motion at the end of 2021 that said only Swiss nationals should be allowed to join the police force.

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