The Swiss police are blind without the SIS

The Schengen Information System (SIS) is an indispensable tool that enables the police and migration authorities in the Schengen area to share information.

The database contains among others:

  • alerts on wanted persons
  • information on missing persons and persons who are subject to an entry ban
  • alerts on missing or stolen vehicles, objects and weapons

The police, the Border Guard and the migration authorities use the SIS on a daily basis. Stolen objects and missing or wanted persons are flagged in the system.

Throughout Europe, from North Cape to Sicily, the authorities can access the database 24/7 and know at once who is wanted and what is missing.

The authorities at the Swiss land borders and airports (i.e. the Schengen external borders) and within the country consult the database 300,000 times every day to ensure that those who enter or move around the country are not on the wanted list.

The face of crime is changing and Europe is confronted with challenges in the fields of terrorism and migration. The database must be improved to respond to these challenges.

Plans to enhance the SIS are underway. Changes to the system will include among others:

  • Faster response times: In the future, authorities will have a 12-hour deadline for responding to requests for additional information. At present, there is no deadline.
  • More information on potential terrorists: Persons suspected of engaging in terrorist activities will be subject to mandatory flagging in order to facilitate the tracking of their movements. Currently, flagging is optional.
  • Enhanced protection for victims: Persons who are particularly vulnerable may be flagged as a preventive measure. They include children at risk of abduction by a parent or victims of specific forms of violence, such as a forced marriage or human trafficking.
  • More information on entry bans: All entry bans imposed for security or migratory reasons will be registered in the database. This is optional at present.
  • Additional fingerprints: Unidentified fingerprints found at the scene of a serious crime or a terrorist attack will be registered in the SIS in the future. Currently the database only contains the fingerprints of persons who have been identified.

Enhancement of the system is a further development of Schengen. Switzerland must therefore implement this reform or it will lose access to this invaluable tool.

The Federal Council submitted its dispatch on the bill to Parliament on 6 March 2020.  

Last modification 05.03.2020

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