Graffiti on your wall or a stolen bike? Property damage and bicycle theft are the most frequent offenses, as can be seen from a glance at the Swiss crime statistics. For example, there were 39,682 bicycle thefts in 2012. Although the irritation of the loss or damage still remains, residents of the cantons of Zurich, Zug, Freiburg, Schaffhausen and St. Gallen can now report these incidents themselves 24/7 at a virtual police station, thanks to the new Swiss ePolice web portal. In addition to graffiti and cycle thefts, lost or stolen license plates can be reported online. The platform also provides two forms for compliance with weapons legislation: an application form for issuing a license for weapon procurement and the legal agreement for transferring a weapon.
With the implementation of the Swiss ePolice project, services that were previously only provided at a police station are now available 24/7 with a web application. This considerably increases the availability of these police services to the population. For the police, it reduces the paperwork necessary for recording and processing these frequently occurring incidents. Swiss ePolice is a supplementary service. It is still possible to report incidents at any "real" police station.
The new service is targeted at private individuals and companies. Before users start entering an incident report, they see a checklist of the information they need to have available. For example, in the case of a bicycle theft this includes the frame number, the make and model, the insurance policy number and the purchase receipt (if available). After the user enters a report, the data is sent to the relevant police corps so they can open and process a case file.
The Swiss ePolice functionality is available to the residents of the participating cantons. Other persons can only use these functions if the location of the incident (property damage, theft or loss) is in one of these cantons.
First Project in the HPI Program
The Swiss ePolice platform is a kick-off project in the program for the harmonization of the police ICT infrastructure in Switzerland, which was initiated under the guidance of the Conference of the Cantonal Justice and Police Directors (KKJPD). The program is based on an agreement between the Swiss Confederation (represented by the EJPD) and the KKJPD concluded in 2011. The agreement governs the joint implementation of projects with the simultaneous participation of several police corps (called "pioneers") and other federal bodies as necessary. Participation is voluntary, with costs allocated according to Swiss residential population statistics. This properly takes into account the federal structure of the police landscape in Switzerland.
The police corps of the cantons of Zurich, Bern, Zug, Freiburg, Schaffhausen and St. Gallen, as well as the police corps of the cities of Zurich and St. Gallen, are participating in the Swiss ePolice platform as pioneers. With these seven police corps, Swiss ePolice reaches over 40% of the Swiss population (more than 3.3 million residents). Starting in 2014, other corps can also adopt the functionality of the platform, subject to cost sharing, which is why the basic design of the platform is already trilingual. The cantonal police of Neuenburg have now decided to participate in Swiss ePolice and will join the team in early March 2014. The medium-term objective is to get as many corps as possible on board, especially because the Swiss ePolice platform is designed as an integration vehicle for further functionality. Following a public tender process, the Swiss ePolice project was implemented by TriSolutions AG in Basel (responsible for project management) and Netcetera AG in Zurich. Netcetera is also responsible for the platform hosting on behalf of the pioneer corps. The total one-time project costs for the pioneers amount to some 1.5 million Swiss francs. The annual operating costs are approximately 430,000 Swiss francs.
The New Swiss ePolice Services in a Nutshell
The following incidents can be reported on the Swiss ePolice platform:
- Bicycle and motorcycle theft
- License plate loss or theft
- Property damage (graffiti, etc.)
- The culprit is unknown.
- There are no visible signs at the place of the incident (with the exception of property damage).
- The place of the incident or the residence of the person reporting the incident is in a canton that operates or supports Swiss ePolice (ZH, BE, ZG, FR, SH, SG).
Two forms for complying with weapons legislation are also available on the platform:
- application for a license to procure a weapon
- written agreement for transferring a weapon