International police co-operation

Keywords: Co-operation | Police

Criminals do not stop at national borders. That is why international police co-operation is vital. It is a top priority and continues to grow in importance.
For many years, Switzerland has been committed to working with its international partners through the following channels:

  • Global, multilateral co-operation via INTERPOL 
  • Bilateral police co-operation agreements with individual states 
  • European multilateral co-operation via Europol

Co-operation via INTERPOL and through police agreements is being continually strengthened. The third pillar ‒ European co-operation ‒ has been strengthened by Switzerland joining the Schengen agreement, which was approved by the Swiss electorate on 5 June 2005.

The Federal Office of Police (fedpol) is the central agency for international police co-operation. The office helps to build and maintain contacts between the cantonal police and law enforcement agencies, and between them and international partners. Within fedpol, the Directorate for International Police Co-operation, with its Operations Centre, and the Directorate of Federal Criminal Police are primarily entrusted with various aspects of international co-operation.

International mutual assistance in criminal matters (Federal Office of Justice) and police co-operation (Federal Office of Police) – Allocation of tasks since 1 February 2010

International mutual assistance in criminal matters is generally the responsibility of the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ). However, certain issues may fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Office of Police (fedpol).

The tasks are divided between the two offices on the basis of applicable national and international law. This division is not always straightforward, however. The table on the division of tasks (see Documents) contains examples of typical cases and services with regard to mutual assistance and police co-operation. This resource may help legal interpretation and the correct allocation of the case in question.

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