Police in Switzerland have threatened to stop enforcing coronavirus measures if the restrictions become too unpopular with citizens.
A Swiss police cfficer’s association wrote a letter to the Swiss Federation of Police Officers (FSFP) that warned of potential insubordination within the forces over the enforcement of coronavirus measures, major Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes reports.
The four-page letter comes amid similar messages shared on an online platform created by the association which allows policemen to state their opinions anonymously “without fear of sanctions or being sidelined”.
“If the measures were to conflict with the general opinion of the population, disproportionately limiting their fundamental rights, many police officers would no longer be willing to apply them,” the group said in the letter to the FSFP.
According to 20 Minutes, the letter has spread across social media and has been met with praise from coronavirus lockdown sceptics.
The FSFP, meanwhile, stated that the association that sent the letter only represented a part of the 26,500 members of the police federation, dismissing any threat of mass subordination among officers.
Adrian Gaugler of the Conference of Cantonal Police Commanders said that while he understood the group’s concerns, “an officer who refuses to enforce the law can be punished.”
One Dead, 600 Arrested at Banned Anti-Lockdown Demo in Germany https://t.co/t2mJoAtnyn
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Police refusing to enforce coronavirus measures is not unique to Switzerland. Earlier this year, police in the Canadian province of Ontario rejected new powers given by the provincial government that would have allowed them to stop any motorist or pedestrian and demand to know where they live and why they were not at home.
Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah rejected the measures meant to enforce the province’s stay-at-home order, saying: “I would like to reassure our citizens that our officers will not be conducting random vehicle or individual stops.”
Joanna Baron, executive director of the Calgary-based Canadian Constitution Foundation, also criticised the expansion of police powers, saying: “Ontario is one step closer to becoming a police state.”
Policing coronavirus restrictions has long been an issue in Europe, particularly as many countries, such as France and Italy, have rolled out coronavirus vaccine passports, resulting in protests from citizens in recent weeks.