Open a Security Agency in Switzerland
Open a Security Agency in SwitzerlandUpdated on Thursday 29th July 2021
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Security agencies in Switzerland operate as state-owned entities or as private security agencies. In the latter case, any businessman can register a security agency, as long as the legal requirements available in Switzerland are met. Our team of Swiss lawyers can provide legal advice on the legislation that is addressed to this business activity and can also help investors in applying for the required business permits and licenses.
What is the data on the activities of Swiss security agencies?
There are a number of reasons for which foreign investors should open a company in Switzerland as a security agency. One of the main reasons for investing in this sector is given by the fact that the private security industry is increasing at a rapid pace. Businessmen must know that the services provided by Swiss private security agencies are also requested in foreign territories. The latest data available for this industry shows the following:
- • at the level of 2017, the Swiss private security agencies carried out 450 missions on foreign territories;
- • compared to 2016, the activities of Swiss private security agencies increased by one third (with 114 missions more), as stipulated by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs;
- • more than 225 missions were performed for personal security services and for guarding goods and persons;
- • in 2017, a total of 279 missions were developed for personal security and guarding goods and persons;
- • this marked an important increase, as in 2016, there were only 114 such missions;
- • Swiss private security agencies also provided intelligence activities (109 missions);
- • there were also 50 operations concluded as logistical support for armed forces.
What is the legal framework for Swiss security agencies?
Since a security agency is set up with the purpose of providing security services of various kinds, it needs to comply with specific regulations. In the case of Swiss security agencies delivering their services outside the border of the country, the main rule of law which needs to be respected is the Federal Act on Private Security Services Provided Abroad.
Under the regulations of this law, Swiss companies that operate as security agencies providing their services in a foreign country must comply with a declaration requirement. The legislation, which entered into force on the 1st of September 2015, is applicable to a wide range of entities involved in this activity, such as natural persons, companies or business associations; our team of Swiss lawyers can offer additional information on the obligations deriving from this law.
It is also necessary to know that any party that falls under the regulations of the Federal Act on Private Security Services Provided Abroad needs to become a member of the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Services Providers.
Who is in charge with the implementation of the Swiss security legislation?
In the case of Swiss security agencies that offer their services on foreign territories, the main institution in charge with the implementation of the regulations of law is the Private Security Services Section. This is a sub-division of the Directorate of Political Affairs operating under the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. Our Swiss law firm can assist businessmen with advice on the documents that have to be submitted with this institution, which is in charge with the following activities:
- • the examination of the declarations submitted by applicant Swiss private security agencies;
- • the initiation of a review procedure, which is applicable in the case in which the declared activities may be in conflict with the provisions of the law;
- • requesting any additional information and papers from the applicant security agency;
- • the prohibition of initiating private security services abroad, provided that they fall out of the scope of the Swiss law;
- • announcing the Swiss private security agency that the declaration was accepted and that it can engage in security services.
Those who want to open a Swiss business as a security agency should also know that the legislation in Switzerland allows the cooperation between state and private entities. Thus, private security agencies in Switzerland may engage in specific security activities that are normally concluded by state-owned security institutions; our team of Swiss lawyers can provide more information on this matter.
The procedure for opening this type of company follows the basic registration steps, but additional requirements may apply, for instance, when obtaining special permits and licenses designed for this type of activity; our team of lawyers in Switzerland can advise on the permits available in this case. Investors are invited to contact our Swiss law firm for further details.