Stefan Blättler, chief of Bern cantonal police, told Swiss-German TV programme 10vor10 that his service had bought assault rifles for its police officers and that “several” other cantonal police services in the country were doing the same, reported news agencies on Wednesday.
Usually non-specialist police officers carry handguns but not assault rifles, which are only carried by specialist units.
But now officers are being trained to use the latter in “extreme situations”, Blättler told 10vor10.
The advantage of assault rifles – a long-range selective-fire gun frequently used by the military – is that “they can be used over a longer distance”, he said.
“The opposition is very professionally armed,” he added, saying assault rifles allowed the police to be on “the same level”.