Anti-terror measures keep Swiss police busy

Efforts to thwart jihadists, money launderers and cyber criminals topped the to-do list of Switzerland’s federal police last year.

The Federal Office of Police blocked 39 jihadists from entering Switzerland in 2016 – far more than the 17 denied entry the previous year. The office carried out criminal proceedings in 60 of the 70 jihadism cases that it investigated. In its annual report published on Tuesdayexternal link, the office noted that counter-terrorism had been a strong focus in 2016.

“Without the constant exchange of information, we would be powerless against this ongoing threat,” noted director Nicoletta della Valle in the report, pointing out that the cooperation with Switzerland’s cantonal police as well as police abroad was indispensable. For example, an attaché has been stationed in Turkey since October, and another is headed for Tunisia this month.

The authorities say they also want to continue to combat terror financing and to better regulate substances that can be used to make bombs.

Money laundering, cybercrime, threats

Last year, there was a new record in the number of money laundering reports in Switzerland – which rose by 23% to 2.909 – with a total value of 5.3 billion CHF (5.3$ billion). The office attributes this to fraud and corruption, and particularly to complex international corruption cases.

There was also a record set in 2016 for the amount of internet crime, with 14.033 reports of suspicious internet content, about 80% of which was criminal. Most of the reports had to do with phishing: criminals trying to steal confidential data like user names and passwords.

Government officials and parliamentarians also reported more threats received in the form of letters, emails and phone calls. There were 1.691 reports in 2016, compared to 1.063 in the previous year. The federal police office attributed this to increased sensitisation, and says that most of the threats were not relevant in a criminal sense.