Statistics

In order to bring the perpetrators of serious crime to justice, the prosecution authorities in Switzerland order thousands of postal and telecommunications surveillance measures every year. 40 per cent of these surveillance measures are ordered in investigations into serious drug offences. A third relate to serious property crime. 11 per cent relate to offences against Life and Limb. The remainder relate to a variety of offences, including Felonies and Misdemeanours against liberty and sex offences.

2016 saw the amount of emergency searches decrease by 8 per cent. The amount of ordered surveillance measures also decreased to 8'551. 4 per cent less technical and administrative information requests and 11 per cent more basic information requests were processed.

It is worth pointing out that it is common for several surveillance orders to be issued in connection with a single offence. For example, when investigating a suspected drug dealer, both a landline and several mobile phones may have to be monitored. In addition, it is frequently the case that several telecommunications service providers will be requested to monitor the same mobile telephone number in order to cover all roaming activities. Furthermore, the statistics contain all surveillance measures ordered in 2016. The payment of fees however only takes place once the measure is terminated, which in some cases will happen only in 2017.

The following table provides statistics of surveillance measures ordered in recent years:

Surveillance measures

Real time1 (active)
Year # Diff. to previous year
2016 2'795 -17%
2015 3'381 +1.1%
2014 3'344 -12.7%
2013 3'770 +17.5%
2012 3'109 +17.1%
 
Retrospective2
Year # Diff. to previous year
2016 5'756 -8%
2015 6'269 -1.0%
2014 6'335 -8.5%
2013 6'872 -0.7%
2012 6'918 +17.2%
 

Inquiries

Technical and administrative information3
 
Year # Diff. to previous year
2016 3'922 -4%
2015 4'106 -5.0%
2014 4'321 -12.6%
2013 4'867 +7.1%
2012 4'521 +19.4%
 
Simple inquiries4
("directory inquiries"/ CCIS)
Year # Diff. to previous year
2016 202'052 11%
2015 181'835 -8.2%
2014 198'101 +3.6%
2013 191'010 -6.1%
2012 202'579 +13.4%
 

Emergency surveillance measures

Year Total # Diff. to previous year 5 Real time1 (actives) Retrospective2 Last known location6
2016 514 -8% 222 35 257
2015 557 +20.6% 242 57 258
2014 462 -9.5% 201 42 219
2013 506 +17.0% 175 43 288
2012 420 -2.4% 124 42 254

 

 

Year

Real-time surveillance measures1

(Communications surveillance)

Retroactive surveillance measures2

(Telecommunications connection data enquiry, i.e. data on all calls and connections)

Technical and administrative inquiries3

(Detailed information on telecommunication connections and caller identification)

Simple inquiries4

("directory inquiries")

2011

2'576

5'726

3'643

175'504

2010

2'798

5'330

3'202

190'866

2009

2'610

5'575

2'979

no data available

2008

2'272

5'298

2'806

no data available

2007

2'043

4'848

1'986

no data available

2006

1'965

4'279

1'870

no data available

2005

2'111

4'813

1'735

no data available

2004

2'369

5'187

no data available no data available

 

 

1Surveillance in real time: Surveillance in real time and the simultaneous, slightly delayed or periodic transmission of postal or telecommunications data; e.g. telephone or e-mail surveillance activities (listening in to telephone conversations or reading e-mails);

2Retrospective surveillance: Providing the traffic and billing data for the past six months, i.e. the information on customers’ postal or telecommunications traffic collected by the provider to document mailing and communications activities, primarily for billing purposes; e.g. proof of calls (who called whom, when and for how long?)

3Technical and administrative information (details of telecommunication connections): Further information that is disclosed in response to an order, e.g. the IMEI number of a mobile telephone, the IMSI number of a SIM card, copies of contracts or invoices.

4Basic information: Basic information on connections in accordance with Art. 14 para. 1 let. a–c SPTA. Information given to the prosecution authorities on matters such as: "Whose telephone number is this?" or "Which telephone numbers are registered to this person?" The provision of this basic information is not governed by the same procedural regulations that apply to surveillance activities. In particular, the provision of basic information need not be approved by a court, and the list of offences for which surveillance activities are permitted does not apply either.

5Difference in the number of inquiries compared to the previous year (in %).

6Last known location: establishing the last known active location of the missing person’s mobile device and providing all the details required to establish the location.