Transport police in Swiss trains will start carrying guns in the summer of 2012, Swiss Federal Railways announced on Thursday.
The company said it had decided to take the step “to improve security for passengers, railway staff and the police themselves”.
The Swiss government issued a decree in August allowing transport police to be armed, after parliament had been unable to agree on the matter and asked the cabinet to decide.
The company said that in recent years some passengers had shown more readiness to use violence against other train travellers and staff. However, the police will keep their weapons hidden and only use them in self-defence or to help others defend themselves.
It said arming the transport police will make it easier for them to cooperate with other police corps.
It pointed out that border police, military security officers and cantonal police are already armed when they patrol trains.
Switzerland’s second biggest rail company, BLS, said in August it was against arming its security personnel. It said they were sufficiently well trained and have other ways of intervening.
swissinfo.ch and agencies