Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and ranks among the top 10 most liveable cities in the world. One key contributor to this achievement is the Zurich City Police.

With more than 2,200 employees, including 1,700 officers and 500 civil employees, Zurich City Police works to ensure the safety and security of more than 400,000 people. Responding to 160,000 emergency calls per year and nearly 60,000 incidents, the agency requires state-of-the-art technology to manage response times and effectively protect citizens and visitors. That’s why Zurich City Police has partnered with Hexagon over the last decade to create a technologically advanced police force.

“In such a quickly developing urban environment as we face here in Zurich, it is crucial for us to continue optimizing our processes and procedures to make them more efficient and effective,” said Lt. Col. Andreas Moschin. “To achieve this, we utilise as much technology as possible.”

Growth Over Time

The agency first reassessed its response and dispatching needs when Switzerland was awarded the host bid for the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship. To handle the anticipated increase in calls for service, Zurich City Police adopted Hexagon’s computer-aided dispatch (CAD) solution and overhauled its control room. After much success with the new solution, it began looking for more ways to improve.

The first improvement was mobility. To provide its officers with real-time information while in the field, the agency adopted Hexagon’s handheld mobile solution that gives officers access via tablets.

Another improvement enabled control center staff to identify the location of callers without violating their privacy. With the adoption of Hexagon’s SMS location capabilities, they were able to find a solution and respond more efficiently to calls for service.

“In Zurich, we work in a very dynamic environment – a large city with all its benefits, downsides, and challenges for the police force,” Moschin said. “To meet those challenges, we must use our resources as effectively as possible. Utilising the support provided by digital technology is an obvious solution.”

Multi-Agency Collaboration

Issues of mobility and privacy weren’t the only challenges facing Zurich City Police. There was a growing need for collaboration among not only Zurich- based agencies, but also regional agencies. Working with the LAFIS Association, Zurich City Police selected Hexagon’s major event management solution to better assess the collective capabilities of nearly 40 diverse organizations and manage major events throughout their entire life cycles.

The Hexagon solution enables police, fire, ambulance, air rescue, rail security, and other organizations to seamlessly work together without changing their day-to-day operational processes or systems. Depending on the situation, agencies can add other police, fire, or rescue organizations, providing them with a robust collaboration tool and in-depth information about other organisations’ actions.

“During the event management, all involved parties have access to the common operating picture,” said Zurich City Police Staff Sgt. Guido Schüepp. “It is crucial for us to be able to easily review the event, which means enabling us to take away lessons from the past event with an after-action review to refer to the case for a plannable operation in the future.”

Primarily used for major events, the situation and command information system provides Zurich City Police and its partnering agencies with a common operating picture to see the location of their GPS-tracked units at any time and a messaging board to document the event.

“The members of the command staff completing their tasks in the emergency operations room can add their insights and any information relevant to the event to the messaging board,” Schüepp said. “This information is available to all partners, supporting them to accomplish their mission.”

Zurich City Police and LAFIS use Hexagon’s solution for 15 to 20 major events per year, including the Zurich Street Parade and Zurich Festival. These events attract millions of spectators, making this technology a critical part of Zurich City Police’s response.

Smart City Zurich

For the Smart City Index 2019, Easypark selected 500 cities worldwide and analysed them based on criteria, including mobility, digitisation, and quality of life. Zurich has regularly ranked high among the most livable cities in the world, excelling in public transport, education, and sanitation.

To continue building upon this designation, a cross-departmental strategy is underway. Some of the objectives of Smart City Zurich include:

  • Challenges facing the city
  • The increase of social, ecological, and economic added value
  • New ways to link organisations together

Zurich City Police is a key driver of this initiative. Its success with technology and approach to policing allows the agency to serve as a regional example of an innovative organisation. It’s also why Zurich will continue to grow and maintain its Smart City status.

“It certainly wouldn’t be desirable to do the police work of today in a metropolis such as Zurich without digital technology. We would not want to return to those times,” Moschin said. “The Zurich City Police has always kept up with innovation, and we have always been able to benefit from it.”