Requirements set for private security companies

Federal Council adopts ordinance on the assignment of tasks to security companies

Press Release, FDJP, 31.10.2007

Bern. The Federal Council has laid down minimum requirements for the assignment by the federal government of security functions in Switzerland or abroad to private security companies. On Wednesday it adopted the new ordinance on the assignment of tasks to security companies, which will come into force as of 1 December 2007.

Before a federal authority can engage the services of a private security company, it must be certain that this company fulfils a number of conditions. Specifically, the company must offer sufficient guarantees with regard to the recruitment, training and monitoring of its security personnel, it must prove that it is a genuine security undertaking and must also demonstrate its solvency. Security personal must have received proper training which covers the technical, psychological and legal aspects of their job, as well as the use of physical force, conduct towards specific individuals and respect for fundamental rights.

The federal authority must lay down in the contract whether and to what extent the exercise of security functions requires the use of police measures and action, and whether or not security personnel may be armed to deal with self-defence or emergency situations. It must also check the fulfilment of the contract on a regular basis. Abroad, a federal authority may, in exceptional circumstances, engage the services of a private security company which does not fully satisfy the training requirements laid down in the ordinance, if the security of individuals or buildings cannot be guaranteed in any other way.

The ordinance has been drawn up by an interdepartmental working group under the leadership of the Federal Office of Justice (FoJ). This working group was created in connection with the adoption on 5 December 2005 of the report on private security and military companies. At that time, the Federal Council decided to examine whether or not the general conditions that private security companies must fulfil to be awarded a contract from the Swiss Confederation should be specified.

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