Swiss police are demanding compulsory DNA tests for asylum seekers after saying a rise in the numbers applying to stay in the country had a direct link with an increase in crime.
Police believe that the DNA database will allow a faster clear up rate of crimes by matching evidence found at the crime scene.
The idea has received widespread support after police statistics for the first six months of 2012 showed a 77 per cent increase in the number of crimes committed by asylum seekers.
Olivier Gueniat, a police chief in the canton of Jura in northwest Switzerland, put forward the idea, saying a database of asylum seekers would help tackle spiraling crime levels.
He said: ‘For security reasons this is a step that is urgently needed. It is the only way to start to clear up the rising levels of unsolved crime.’
He was backed by other senior police officers.
Police boss, Hans-Juerg Kaeser, who works in Bern, said he planned to see that the proposal was at the top of the agenda at the upcoming police and justice conference.
But some Swiss provinces have said they are already considering other measures to tackle a rise in crime.
In Aargau, for example, the locals are setting up a Civilian Protection Squad together with Village Watch Officers to try to frighten off the asylum seekers blamed for rising crime.
They say the volunteers will be able to support the work of police and the private security firms.
The cantons of Aargau, Bern, Jura, Neuenburg, St. Gallen, Tessin, Wallis and Zurich have been particularly badly hit by crime, said police reports.
The call for DNA tests follows a number of high profile cases in Swiss media about asylum seekers, including a front-page of a gypsy child pointing a gun at the cameraman with the warning, ‘The Roma are coming – robberies in Switzerland’.
Ironically the picture was not shot in Switzerland – but was taken in 2008 in Kosovo by Italian photographer Livio Mancini.
There have also been articles published highlighting crime by foreigners.
One includes a fireman robbed by an asylum seeker as he tackled a blaze.
And another includes an asylum seeker caught in the act who told local media Swiss people people deserved to be robbed as their banks had stolen cash from his country.
Larisa Brown, Daily Mail