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Swiss to increase embassy and aircraft security

The Israeli embassy in Bern is an example for increased security Keystone

The Swiss government has decided to improve security in aircraft, and to increase surveillance at foreign embassies. The authorities approved the urgent measures on Thursday.

This content was published on October 25, 2001 - 16:55

The measures were recommended by the justice and police ministry's USIS II report and are designed to eliminate a certain number of issues. These include a shortage of personnel and the difficulty of coordinating 26 cantonal police forces.

The government agrees that aircraft security is a major problem, but this task remains the responsibility of the cantons. Federal legislation must be modified before the authorities can take over.

Extra personnel will be hired to keep watch at embassies on Swiss soil. In all, 15 people in Geneva and 30 others in Bern will be added to the surveillance teams next year.

The aim is to eventually have a contingent of 120 people in Geneva and 80 in Berne, rather than 45 and 30 now.

The government has also proposed the creation of a centralised police database. This computerised database would be a vital tool in the fight against crime, according to the authorities.

The USIS report suggests domestic security shortcomings could be remedied by partial federal financing of cantonal police forces.

The government is still considering a number of options to deal with border controls.

The cantons could take over this role from the federal authorities.

swissinfo with agencies

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