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Swiss and Austrian police join forces to combat cross border crime

Swiss police minister, Ruth Metzler (left), in Austria for talks on joint border patrols

(Keystone)

Switzerland and Austria have stepped up efforts to fight cross border crime. Police are running joint patrols along their border in the Rhine valley in a bid to crack down on illegal drugs trafficking and the smuggling of immigrants.

The Swiss police minister, Ruth Metzler, said close cooperation with neighbouring countries was crucial, because Switzerland is not a member of the European Union and is not covered by the Schengen agreement.

She was speaking on Monday after meeting the Austrian interior minister, Ernst Strasser, in Bregenz on Lake Constance.

Since the beginning of this month, Swiss and Austrian border guards have been holding joint patrols once a week, as part of a trial in joint border policing.

Officials said they would be stepping up cooperation within the next few weeks. Under the arrangement, police will be to chase suspected criminals up 10 kilometres into the territory of the neighbouring country.

Austria is to ratify an agreement with Switzerland and the principality of Liechtenstein by the middle of this year.

swissinfo with agencies


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