Switzerland to deepen police cooperation with the UK

(Last modification 15.12.2020)

Bern, 15.12.2020 - Switzerland is to strengthen bilateral cooperation with the United Kingdom on combating crime and terrorism, regardless of the outcome of negotiations on a final arrangement between the UK and the EU. On 15 December, Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter, the head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police FDJP, signed a bilateral police agreement via video link with James Brokenshire, the UK’s Minister of State for Security. The agreement is intended to strengthen the domestic security of both countries.

Terrorism, organised crime, trafficking in human beings, money laundering and drug trafficking - the perpetrators are well connected and operate across national borders: international crime presents Switzerland with major challenges.

The UK is a key player in combating terrorism and organised crime. The UK's departure from the EU and the end of the transition period at the end of this year has an impact on cooperation and the exchange of information with Switzerland. The international exchange of information is vital to the work of the police. It is therefore important for Switzerland and its security to be able to continue and deepen the existing close and effective police cooperation with the UK. "Switzerland greatly appreciates the cooperation between our two countries. The UK is particularly active and experienced in fighting terrorism. The exchange of information is in our mutual interests, for the security of British and Swiss citizens", stated Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter.

Continuing and strengthening existing cooperation

The agreement includes rules on cross-border cooperation between the respective police authorities responsible for exchanging information or coordinating operations. Its provisions are primarily aimed at combating serious crime, but apply to all forms of crime, including money laundering and organised crime. This aspect is also of mutual interest given that London is one of the world's largest financial centres along with Zurich and Geneva.

On 4 December, the Federal Council authorised the FDJP to sign the bilateral police agreement, and on 15 December Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter signed the agreement via video link with James Brokenshire, the UK's Minister of State for Security. The agreement is due to come into force in the second half of 2021.

The signed agreement is a further addition to the network of bilateral police agreements between Switzerland and other European partners. To date Switzerland has concluded agreements with 16 European countries, ranging from its neighbours Germany, France, Italy and Austria to states in the Balkans and Eastern Europe.

This police agreement is being concluded independent of the Federal Council's ‘Mind the gap' strategy, which is intended to safeguard the existing legal relationship with the UK as far as possible, and to expand it beyond the current level where it is in the interests of both sides to do so. Switzerland and the UK have already signed a number of agreements in this context, such as an agreement on the mobility of service suppliers, on air transport, and insurance.


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Last modification 02.07.2020

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