Federal Office of Police

Structure of the Swiss Police

Federal structure – constitutional basis

The federal structure of Switzerland is reflected in the organisational structure of the police.

In Switzerland, each of the 26 cantons exercises police sovereignty, a state of affairs that goes back to long before the Swiss constitution was established. The constitution of 1848 did not change anything in this area, and it still recognises cantonal jurisdiction in police matters. Thus, the cantons are still responsible for safeguarding public law and order on their territory. The other main task of the cantonal police corps is law enforcement.

In contrast, the constitution does not grant the federal authorities comprehensive powers in police matters, but only responsibility for individual, limited police tasks.