Are legal vacuums developing in Switzerland?

Are legal vacuums developing in Switzerland?

Police calls for broad support by population and policy

Rl. On the first weekend of September at the Tinguely Fountain in Basel five police officers, who wanted to settle a fight among young people, were attacked. The situation escalated when a 21-year-old repeatedly tried to intervene and was also apprehended by the police. Only with the use of tear gas, the police were able to secure the entire situation.
The police officers are reported to use such means, as they are repeatedly attacked by outsiders, as Martin Schulz, spokesman for the Basel Department of Justice and Security, explained (see “Basler Zeitung” from 6 September).
Such events are becoming more frequent. For example, shortly after 10:00 pm on 22 May, approximately 50 people vandalised the area between the Barfüsserplatz and Auf der Lyss in Basel. There the vandals broke many windows and smeared facades. The vandals turned on the approaching police force and attacked them by throwing stones and bottles. Two police officers and a civilian were injured. Fourteen perpetrators were arrested. The Public Prosecutor’s Office has started proceedings concerning breach of peace, criminal damage, assault and violence and threat against authorities and officials (see SPBA press release from 25 June).

Rise of no-go zones in Switzerland?

Despite many published statistics about a growing “sense of security” in the population, apparently there is a threat that legal vacuums are also emerging in Switzerland (“no-go zones”, see also “the difference between life and statistics”, “Basler Zeitung” from 5 September). The committed German police officer Tania Kambouri has reported on this development in Germany. Kambouri describes how no-go zones arise due to the disintegration of social norms. Part of these social norms is to accept police officers as State Authority. They enforce generally accepted legislation. However, police officers are becoming unprotected game without support of the society. Kambouri describes this using examples from the Ruhr area and the cities of Bremen and Berlin. She highlights possible causes and ways out.
Certain factors favour this negative development: Separation from the state, lack of integration of foreigners, legal vacuums facilitating criminal activities (red light district, drug trafficking, handling of stolen goods, corruption, petty crime), a lack of sanctioning, poor training and lack of police, weak State control (“soft justice”). An additional factor is the crime tourism, caused by uncontrolled borders.
Adding to the situation are the increasing numbers of illegal immigrants (see article above). Apparently they immigrate with the intent to hide in the country. Their actual whereabouts in the country gives rise to the presumption, that they are illegally financed. Already, cases of prostitution, petty crime and drug trafficking have become evident. This is a challenge for the Federal Government. A misguided migration policy cannot be solved on municipal and cantonal level. In certain districts of Basel, several of the above factors are simultaneously appearing. The Safety Director of Basel Baschi Dürr explains himself after the events of 3 September: “Once again it has become obvious, that we should not relent in our efforts. We have to have a police presence on the street, to educate and to train the people [the police officers are meant] and to improve the equipment.” Finally, the society is challenged not to accept no-go zones and to take a stand, as the governing Councillor is requesting (cf. “Basler Zeitung” of 6 September).

Online-petition of the police is asking for support

The Association of Swiss Police Officers (VSPB) invites the population to show solidarity with the officials. The trilingual online petition of the Ticinese Association Amici delle Forze di Polizia Svizzere AFPS asks for support under www.art-285.ch for a tightening of penalties for violence and threat to authorities and officials (Article 285 of the Criminal Code). “Only if harsher punishments prevail, will the perpetrators think twice, whether or not to attack policewomen and policemen”, Max Hoffmann, Secretary General of the SPBA stated in a press release of the Association by 15 May. The demand includes support of police officers and also the full backing from politicians. Therefore, an adequate migration policy of the Federal Government is required.     •

Kambouri, Tania. Deutschland im Blaulicht. Notruf einer Polizistin (Germany in the blue light. Emergency call of a COP). Berlin 2015,
ISBN 978-3-492-06024-0
Online petition:
www.art-285.ch/il-testo-in-oggetto

Source: press releases of the SPBA at www. vspb.org/de/medien/aktuelle_medienmitteilung/

(Translation Current Concerns)

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