Official Einsatzgruppe TIGRIS Patch
|Active||January 1, 2002 (Created)
2003 (Unofficially Formed) - Present (Existence revealed on September 2005 to Swiss law enforcement, public existence revealed on March 2009)
|Role||Domestic Counter-Terrorism and Law Enforcement|
|Size||14 police officers|
|Part of||Under control of the Federal Criminal Police|
The Einsatzgruppe TIGRIS (English: Task Force TIGRIS) is a specialized tactical police unit belonging to the Federal Criminal Police, the investigative arm of the Swiss Federal Office of Police. As of 2009, it consists of 14 officers and is based at the military police base in Worblaufen near Bern. Manpower for the unit is currently being increased to recruit more officers.
The exact budget allocated to the unit has been made classified by the Federal Office of Police, only being known as part of its allocated budget. Due to their covert origin, Swiss media has called them Supercops.
In the past, plans to create a specialist federal police unit had failed twice- in 1978 and in 2002- due to jurisdiction issues with the cantons. After the Swiss Parliament approved the formation of TIGRIS in the year 2000, the unit was covertly created under the watch of ex-Justice Minister Christoph Blocher on January 1, 2002. The unit was created under "Project Effort".
Federal officials were first informed about the existence of TIGRIS in September 2005 in a routine meeting of high-ranking police officials, catching most of them by surprise as they were not aware of its creation. It was not, however, a matter of public knowledge until March 2009, when it was revealed by an article in the Swiss weekly magazine Die Weltwoche.
TIGRIS was deployed in its first mission in May 2003, when they apprehended two foreign nationals, one for the breaking out of a German prison and another for committing fraud. In June 2006, TIGRIS operatives, assisting Zürich police, arrested a Moldavian national wanted for armed robbery, followed by another arrest operation resulting in the apprehension of a Polish national on December 11, 2006.
Operatives of TIGRIS are known to wear black helmets and combat uniforms. The Weltwoche had reported that the unit has been provided with state-of-the-art counterterrorism equipment and weapons as well as computerised training facilities. Its known budget is a total of 2.7 million Swiss francs.
The operatives of TIGRIS are seen armed with the following firearms:
TIGRIS would intervene in situations where cantonal police would need federal assistance in solving matters out of their capacity. TIGRIS's missions are based on special operations with high risks and will not intervene in missions where canton police specialist units can handle the job themselves.
A report on TIGRIS was publicly announced, saying that the unit could probably operate in international territory according to its mandate.
Several politicians were angered at the creation of TIGRIS when the unit was officially revealed to the public due to its covert nature.
According to Markus Notter, Zurich Director of Justice and President of the Police and Justice directors, claimed that Switzerland has too many civilian specialist units serving under various cantons which would not warrant TIGRIS's existence. Additionally, the police forces in various cantons have responsibility for maintaining security in their own jurisdiction while the Federal Police are supposed to protect Switzerland's territory.
Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf had ordered an investigation into whether the covert creation of TIGRIS was legal and whether the agency is needed for Swiss law enforcement. She concluded that TIGRIS is not needed when she had announced the investigation.
In an interview with Blick, Federal Criminal Police commander Kurt Blöchlinger insisted that feedback from various police cantons were positive regarding TIGRIS's deployment to assist them. In addition, he said that he had told police officials regarding TIGRIS's existence in 2005 contrary to claims that they never knew about TIGRIS.
TIGRIS' Worblaufen facility is said to be a violation of Swiss law since it was said to be using Swiss military facilities when a reply to the Federal Assembly had insisted that TIGRIS and the military police do not share any building facilities.
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