As Switzerland prepares for the energy shortage come winter, the country’s police chief conjectures the importance of considering the ramifications on security, claiming that law enforcement should be better involved in the overall preparatory work.
In an interview with Swiss daily Blick, Fredy Fässler, chief of the Security and Justice Department of the St. Gallen canton–the country’s counterpart for states– asserted that safety and security should be included in the planning for the winter power crisis.
“The federal government is working hard and focuses primarily on energy supply and the economy. Safety has so far been forgotten. That’s why we intervened so that we were involved in the planning work,” Fässler said.
He further bared out his fears on what could be the result of the impending shortage, saying a shutdown would have “far-reaching consequences.”
“Imagine: You can no longer withdraw money at the ATM, no longer pay with the card in the store or refuel at the gas station. And all heaters no longer work. You have to freeze. It’s dark in the streets. It is conceivable that the population will rebel or that there will be looting,” he added.
The police chief also added that even if he doesn’t “expect it to really come to” these circumstances, the cantons have to “prepare for such extreme scenarios.”
“I don’t want to paint the devil on the wall, but even in environmental disasters, certain people abused the situation to plunder unprotected objects… This makes it all the more urgent to ensure that the police do not react only when something has already happened,” the Swiss council member added.
The government council of St. Gallen–which Fässler is a part of–is the president of the Conference of Cantonal Justice and Police Directors. He noted that the agency “will now have a seat in the Federal Civil Protection Staff” and their secretary-general will now be part of the Steering Committee of the Conferences of Directors of the Cantons, allowing them “to bring in the security concerns and fears of the cantons directly.”
On the law enforcement part, Fässler said that “more presence on the street in such a case is certainly an option,” but they will decide on this situationally. However, he noted that the government shouldn’t overreach its powers in policing the population.
“I appeal to the federal government to order only measures that are feasible and, above all, controllable,” he said. “However, there are always people who mutate into auxiliary sheriffs in such a situation or perhaps still have an old bill to settle with a neighbor and therefore blacken him. If a corresponding complaint is received, then the police must act.”
For the population, Fässler recommends stocking and increasing emergency supplies but advises against taking in weapons.
“I definitely don’t advise [weapons]! It can be dangerous if you face a burglar with a weapon… I say: Get waffles rather than weapons,” the police chief said.
On Monday, however, Economics Minister Guy Parmelin advised to “avoid the dramatisation” of the threat of power gap in the country.
“Imposing restrictions – rather than recommendations – on people is something that must be thought through very carefully. People’s freedom is at stake,” said Parmelin.
The European country is facing a possible power shortage and has been preparing at full speed for contingencies amid the threat of Russia turning off the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, from which most of Europe sources natural gas imports.
Information for this briefing was found via Blick. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.