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POLICE

More police sought against foreign gangs

Switzerland needs 1,500 more police officers to deal with foreign gangs and rising cases of burglaries and thefts, according to the working group of the conference for cantonal justice and police ministers.

More police sought against foreign gangs
Photo: Valais cantonal police

“Bands from abroad target Switzerland for burglaries and thefts,” Beat Villiger, conference vice-president and cantonal minister for Zug, told SonntagsBlick in an interview that appeared on Sunday.

“The professionalization of criminals in the areas of pickpocketing, tricks and skimming (from bank teller machines using duplicate credit card readers and wireless cameras) is rising,” said Villiger, 55.

He is also seeking increased video surveillance in trains and special prisons for failed asylum seekers.

“In trains and stations that are secured with cameras less happens and the police and can respond and verify offences better.”

Villiger said asylum seekers “who would have to leave the country” should not be brought into contact with criminals, but this would require a new prison.

“In the area of central and north-western Switzerland around 250 places are lacking for administrative detention, that is for failed asylum seekers and illegal aliens.”

He estimated the cost of such a prison at 50 million francs but noted that this could relieve the prison populations of a dozen cantons.

The working group of the conference for cantonal justice and police ministers says Switzerland needs more police officers to meet the security needs of a 24/7 society, the ATS news service reported.

That means police officers are needed permanently around the clock, the group concluded.

“The population never ceases to grow and there are more cars in the streets and an intense activity in the cities on weekends between 2 and 6am,” Villiger added.

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CRIME

Switzerland jails 84-year-old bank robber

Swiss authorities have sent an 84-year-old bank robber to prison. The man, who robbed the same bank twice, had hoped his age would see him avoid sentencing.

Switzerland jails 84-year-old bank robber

A court in the Swiss canton of Lucerne has jailed an 84-year-old man for two years and four months for two bank robberies stretching back across the past decade. 

The man, named in Swiss media as Willi P, has been given a partially suspended sentence and will only need to serve six months. 

The man robbed a bank in Meggen in 2012 and in 2017, stealing around CHF13,000 in total. 

He threatened the bank’s employees with a folding pocket knife placed inside a plastic bag to look like a gun. 

The man avoided jail in 2021 when the case was brought to court, with the judges saying he was too old. 

This time, the cantonal court disagreed. 

“According to the case law of the federal court, even a relatively old age does not in principle justify a particular sensitivity to punishment, which must be taken into account to reduce the sentence,” the court said. 

READ MORE: Why do foreigners ‘commit more violent crimes’ than the Swiss?

Willi P was remorseful, telling the media he was “heartbroken” by what he had done, telling the press his wife had no idea about the robberies. 

“I’m really sorry for everything and felt heartbroken. Afterwards I said to myself: Hey, you are stupid! Why do you still have to do something like this at this age?”

The man pleaded with the court not to sentence him, saying “I’ve been punished enough with my poor health. I am sorry.”

While the court noted that due to the man’s advanced age he may die in jail, this was not enough of an exceptional circumstance to prevent the sentence. 

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