Fighting organized crime in Switzerland
Lying at the heart of Europe, Switzerland shares its borders with five countries. Its geographical position makes it a target for certain forms of organized crime. For instance, Switzerland is a destination and transit country for people smuggling. Irregular migrants mainly arrive in the country via the Adriatic and Balkan routes.
Switzerland’s political stability and its status as a financial centre also make it a target for economic and financial crime. A key trend involves using Swiss bank accounts and its real estate sector to launder money.
In addition, Switzerland serves as a destination country for human and drug trafficking. Victims of human trafficking are predominately women and children coming from Europe, Africa and South-East Asia.
The cross-border elements of these crimes and their links with global crime networks makes the role of the INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) in Switzerland vital to maintaining national and regional security.
INTERPOL in Switzerland
The Federal Office of Police (fedpol) acts as INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau for Switzerland, providing a link between the cantonal and federal services as well as other national police services.
NCB Bern is the national platform that enables Switzerland to cooperate with law enforcement the world over. Specifically, the NCB supports the international exchange of police information to fight crime, arrest criminals and trace missing persons.
NCB Bern also plays an active role in global operations to tackle organized crime including money laundering, drug trafficking and migrant smuggling.
Law enforcement in Switzerland
Police services in Switzerland are provided at three levels: communal, cantonal and federal.
Federal Office of Police (fedpol)
The Federal Office of Police (fedpol) works as a centre for information, cooperation and analysis in matters concerning the internal security of Switzerland.
fedpol’s activities include:
- Carrying out criminal investigations which are usually international in nature including cases of terrorism, corruption and money laundering;
- Protecting persons and sites for whom protection fedpol is responsible;
- Cooperating with the European Union and the Schengen-area in the field of law enforcement.
Cantonal Police Corps
The cantonal police are the law enforcement agencies for each of the 26 cantons of Switzerland. The responsibility for law and order essentially lies with the cantons.