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Law enforcement in Liechtenstein


Law enforcement in Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein National Police Force
Liechtenstein Landespolizei
Common name Landespolizei
Abbreviation LL
Patch of the Liechtenstein National Police Force.
Motto Für Gott, Fürst und Vaterland
For God, Prince and Fatherland
Agency overview
Formed 1933
Preceding agency Security Corps Auxiliary Corps
Employees 125[1]
Annual budget Secret
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
National agency Liechtenstein
Operations jurisdiction* Administrative divisions of , Liechtenstein
Map of Liechtenstein National Police Force's jurisdiction.
Size 160 km² (61 sq mi)
Population 36,000
Governing body Office of Civil Protection
Constituting instrument Liechtenstein Constitution
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Vaduz
Sworn members 91
Unsworn members 38 (Security Corps)
Elected officer responsible Thomas Zwiefelhofer, Minister
Agency executive Jules S. Hoch, Chief of Police
Headquarters Vaduz
Vehicles 45
Speedboats 2
Helicopters 1[2]
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

Law enforcement in Liechtenstein is handled solely by the small Liechtenstein National Police Force (Landespolizei),[note 1] composed of 91 officers and 34 civilian staff, a total of 125 employees (not including the Security Corps),[3] who police the 160 km² (61 sq mi) doubly landlocked alpine country in Western-Central Europe.[4] Bordered by Switzerland to its west, and Austria to its east,[5] Liechtenstein maintains a trilateral treaty which enables close cross-border cooperation between the police forces of the three countries; Liechtenstein is also a member of Interpol, and a signatory to a variety of other treaties.[6][7]


  • Crime 1
  • Structure 2
  • Security 3
    • Swiss military 3.1
  • Policing treaties 4
  • Emergencies 5
  • Customs control 6
  • Border gallery 7
  • Notes 8
  • External links 9
  • References 10


Liechtenstein has a significantly low crime rate, with the last murder taking place, according to a serving officer, “about ten years ago” as of 2007.[7] Crime has always been low since the mid-1970s when Liechtenstein started to prosper as a nation.[8] According to an International Special Reports study, the average Liechtenstein resident doesn't even lock their door.[9] Liechtenstein jails hold very few, if any, inmates, with sentences over two years being transferred to Austria.[7][9] However, officers in the Liechtenstein National Police Force have been armed since a shooting took place.[9] In 2004, Liechtenstein drafted 300 Swiss and Austrian police to assist security forces in the potential aftermath of a Liechtenstein victory over England, in a Euro Cup qualifying match, at Rheinpark Stadion.[10]


Liechtenstein National Police Force are divided into three divisions, and two independently operated subdivision:[11][12]

  • Security and Traffic Control (64 officers; 5 civilian men and women); Administration Security and Traffic Unit, Security Unit, Traffic Unit, Traffic Engineering and Prevention Unit, Special Police Unit (SWAT),[note 2] Border Unit, Riot Police,[note 3] and Protection Unit.[note 4]
  • Criminal Investigation (16 officers; 10 civilian men and women); Administration Crime Investigation Division, Serious Crime Unit, Trace Unit, Financial Crime Unit, Forensic Unit, Crime Intelligence Unit.
  • Executive Support (7 officers; 15 civilian men and women); Chief of Staff,[note 5] Systems Organization and Quality Department, Logistics, Emergence Command and Dispatch, Information Technology, State Penitentiary, and Relation Unit,
  • Chief of Staff and Commissioner's Office (3 officers; 7 civilian men and women); Traffic and Administration Law Department, Legal Assistant, Commissioner's Office; Public Information Center, and Finance and Controlling.
  • Security Corps (38 militiaman)[13][14][15] The Security Corps are a paramilitary force, composed entirely of Liechtensteiners, who can be called upon in case of a natural disaster, or riot situation. The Corps also performs honorary roles such as changing the guard, and presenting the Coat of Arms at official occasions. Differing from all other units (except for the Special Police Unit) the Corps are both trained and equipped with automatic weapons, most notably the Heckler & Koch UMP and MP5.


Law enforcement in Liechtenstein is handled solely by the Liechtenstein National Police Force,[16] although a paramilitary force is maintained inside the police body.[13][17] Liechtenstein follows a policy of neutrality, and is one of few countries in the world that maintains no active military.[18] Liechtenstein's Army was abolished in 1868, soon after the Austro-Prussian War in which Liechtenstein fielded an army of 80 men, although they were not involved in any fighting.[8][16] However, Liechtenstein can reinstate its military if deemed necessary, although this is very unlikely.[19]

Swiss military

Switzerland has a relatively active military due to conscription. Several incidents have occurred during routine training:

  • On 5 December 1985, rockets fired by the Swiss Army landed in Liechtenstein, causing a forest fire. Compensation was paid.[20]
  • On 13 October 1992, following written orders, Swiss Army cadets unknowingly crossed the border and went to Triesenberg to set up an observation post. Swiss commanders had overlooked the fact that Triesenberg was not on Swiss territory. Switzerland apologized to Liechtenstein for the incident.[21]
  • On 3 March 2007, a company of 171 Swiss soldiers mistakenly entered Liechtenstein, after taking a wrong turn in the darkness. The troops returned to Swiss territory before they had traveled more than 2 km into the country. The Liechtenstein authorities did not discover the "invaders", and were informed by the Swiss after the incident. The incident was disregarded by both sides. A Liechtenstein spokesman said "It's not like they invaded with attack helicopters".[22][23]

Policing treaties

Since 1933, Liechtenstein National Police Force has signed seven strategic treaties.[24]


The national emergency telephone number is 112, for police it is 117, for the Fire Brigade it is 118, for the Ambulance Service it is 144, and for the Rega it is 1414.[25] The Fire Brigade also operates a 30 man volunteer Mountain Rescue Service.[26] Officer uniforms are similar to that of the Swiss cantonal police, both in color, and design.[27]

Customs control

The Swiss border between Switzerland and Liechtenstein is opened, but Swiss customs officers used to secure Liechtenstein's border with Austria.[28][29][30] Before December 2011, there were 21 Swiss, 4 Liechtenstein National Police, and 28 Austria border guards, who secured the 11.6 km long Liechtensteiner-Austrian border, however, only 20 percent is passable.[31][note 6]

In February 2007, there were hundreds of people trying to seek asylum in Liechtenstein, mainly from countries such as Somalia and Eritrea.[32] Due to the number of people attempting to cross the border, border guards were stationed on both the Liechtensteiner-Swiss border, and the Liechtensteiner-Austrian border, with the main objective of maintaining law and order for all Liechtensteiners.[33] This security measure lasted for about 90 days, with well over 800 people seeking asylum in Liechtenstein.[34][33]

In December 2011, Liechtenstein became the fourth non-European Union country to join the Schengen Area after Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.[35] Under the agreement, Liechtenstein will maintain an open border with both Switzerland and Austria, and will therefore, result in the closure of several Liechtensteiner-Austrian border stations.[36] In addition, Balzers Heliport will restrict all helicopters coming from non-Schengen countries, which in theory, should limit security concerns.[37] However, Liechtenstein will strengthen its customs control in the way of a high-tech video surveillance system (over 60 cameras costing $2.3 million), and regular mobile border patrol units.[33][36]

Border gallery


  1. ^ However, there are ten Interpol and two Europol agents stationed in Vaduz.
  2. ^ Also called the Intervention Unit, along with the Security Corps is considered by some Liechtensteiners to be a military unit, due in part to its deployment of body armour, a Bell UH-1 helicopter, and automatic weapons which include Heckler & Koch UMPs, Heckler and Koch MP5s, and Swiss SiG carbines. The unit also has semi-military roles such as counter-terrorism, maritime security, air defense, prisoner transport, and assists the Protection Unit in escorting VIPs.
  3. ^ Also called the Security Corps is one of two independently operated subdivisions.
  4. ^ The Protection Unit is mainly used by the royal family, however elected officials, diplomats, or ordinary citizens may request protection from the unit. Since 1989 the Special Police Unit was assigned to assist in case of need.
  5. ^ Also called the Chief of Staff and Commissioner's Office is one of two independently operated subdivisions.
  6. ^ Even though the Liechtenstein National Police Force maintain a border unit, the Swiss border police are responsible for border protection of both countries according to a customs union adopted in 1924.

External links

  • Official website
  • Official brochure (English)


  1. ^ "Annual Report 2011 > Total force - 85 officers, 6 cadets, and 34 civilian staff". Landespolizei. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  2. ^ Markus Herzig. "Swiss Helicopters - Current Fleetlist". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  3. ^ "Annual Report 2011 > Total force - 85 officers, 6 cadets, and 34 civilian staff". Landespolizei. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  4. ^ "Liechtenstein". OSCEpolis. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  5. ^ Geography of Liechtenstein
  6. ^ Landespolizei facts and figures
  7. ^ a b c "Comparative Criminology | Europe- Liechtenstein". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  8. ^ a b "CIA - The World Factbook". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  9. ^ a b c "Police are rarely seen in this peaceful Principality". International Special Reports. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  10. ^ England. "Liechtenstein fear security will not be sufficient". Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  11. ^ Landespolizei Structure
  12. ^ "About Us > Home". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  13. ^ a b Security Corps
  14. ^ "Annual Report 2011 > Total force - 85 officers, 6 cadets, 38 militiaman, and 34 civilian staff". Landespolizei. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  15. ^ Liechtensteinische Landesverwaltung (2012-03-23). "Home - Amt für Bevölkerungsschutz". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  16. ^ a b "Top 10 Countries Without Military Forces | Top 10 Lists". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  17. ^ "Annual Report 2011 > Total force - 85 officers, 6 cadets, 38 militiaman, and 34 civilian staff". Landespolizei. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  18. ^ "Liechtenstein Military 2012, CIA World Factbook". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Switzerland Invades Neighbor". Swiss French Television. 2007-03-05. Retrieved 2009-11-28. 
  21. ^ "Swiss Inform Liechtenstein of Error in Troop Maneuvers". New York Times. 1992-10-18. Retrieved 2009-11-27. 
  22. ^ "'"Swiss in Liechtenstein 'invasion. BBC News. 2007-03-03. Retrieved 2007-03-03. 
  23. ^ (French) Oups !
  24. ^ "Police Associations". Landespolizei. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  25. ^ "Landespolizei Liechtenstein > Notrufnummern". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  26. ^ "Bergrettung". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  27. ^ "Landespolizei > Das sind wir > Polizeimuseum". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  28. ^ Liechtensteiner-Swiss Customs Union
  29. ^ "Relative Time". "Border bridge: Liechtenstein and Switzerland | Sophie's World Travel". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  30. ^ "Jan S. Krogh's Geosite: A-FL Boundary". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  31. ^ "Schengen: Die letzten Tage der Grenzposten". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  32. ^ "Liechtenstein border control from CH. - English Forum Switzerland". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  33. ^ a b c [1]
  34. ^ "Landespolizei News > Official site". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  35. ^ "Liechtenstein Schengen membership lifts border controls with Switzerland.- swissinfo". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  36. ^ a b "Border controls with Liechtenstein to cost Switzerland millions.- swissinfo". 2008-09-26. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  37. ^ "The Principality of Liechtenstein". Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
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