How dangerous are lightning grenades

Futuristic Basel police equipment - from Schugger to Robocop

Today the police no longer only fight against fists and stones. It is necessary to fend off dangerous, sometimes ultra-modern technology, laser attacks, attacks with pop and lightning grenades, butterfly knives or throwing knives. The Basel canton police had to arm. And did this in an exemplary manner. But that's not cheap.

What Zurich is currently learning from Basel

Zurich canton and city police still have a lot of catching up to do. The police commanders are demanding additional funding from politicians in order to be able to catch up with the high-tech weapons used by the perpetrators. The Tages Anzeiger reported that modern hearing protection devices were just procured in the amount of 750,000 francs. This is because of the increased number of attacks on officials, including with strictly forbidden firecrackers, which cause permanent injuries to the eardrums and make verbal communication between deployed forces and their management impossible during an operation. A pilot test with body cams, cameras on the uniform of police officers, is now being discussed. After the violent disputes, one wants to be able to document the perpetrators and the technical means with which one was dealing.

You are well prepared on the Rhine

In Basel, too, police officers are being attacked more and more frequently and, above all, more violently. It starts with normal traffic checks, leads to riots by hooligans at football games and extremely violent chaots who mingle with peaceful demonstrators. Therefore, the security department takes the rolling retrofitting of their teams very seriously. Police spokesman Andreas Knuchel confirmed to that the equipment of the corps is being continuously checked and that developments on the market and in other corps are being closely followed.

Basel is currently well positioned

«Concrete replacement purchases of existing material or the purchase of additional equipment are not planned at the moment. »Explains the information officer. Heinz Salvisberg, Vice President of the Basel-Stadt Police and Officials Association, can only agree with this: "Our equipment was completely renewed last year and is therefore up to date". But he also says that you have to keep a constant eye on technical developments. Contemporary equipment, including protective vests that deserve their name, is manufactured and sold by various specialized manufacturers in Europe and the USA, according to Salvisberg. “They are sporadically evaluated and tested by various police forces. There is an exchange between the cities, which meets the requirements of the police. So it is not the case that every corps in Switzerland selects and tests for itself ”. Orientate yourself to the large emergency services such as Zurich or the Police Bern. "In Basel we check internally what is necessary for us and what needs to be procured," continues Salvisberg. This is also possible on the internet, for example at or

An internal procurement system that was set up specifically for this purpose takes care of the increasing requirements in Basel. “The costs,” says Salvisberg, “are usually billed to the normal budget, special cases such as the replacement of protective vests, which are relatively expensive with a unit price of around CHF 1,000, are requested via a special item. Of course, the material has to meet the standards and new requirements, so you have to test it ”. The equipment is tested by our own specialists, but also by the EMPA (Federal Materials Testing and Research Institute) and Armasuisse (Federal Office of Armaments). There is no common guideline for this, says Salvisberg, but the needs are generally about the same for all police corps.

Different (over) lifespan

The lifespan of the equipment is as varied as the equipment itself. A ballistic protective vest usually has a guarantee period of around ten years, after which it has to be replaced because otherwise safety can no longer be guaranteed, says Salvisberg. Protective helmets would last a long time with good care, but like motorcycle helmets, they have to be replaced after a blow. The same applies to the various individual parts of body protection and combination suits. In conclusion, Heinz Salvisberg says: "The costs of such equipment are usually relatively high because they are specially developed, have to meet high standards and are not produced in large quantities".

The state has the monopoly of force

When you see an emergency worker in full gear today, nothing reminds you of the good old policeman Wäckerli, but of a futuristic Robocop on the movie screen. According to the constitution, the monopoly of force rests exclusively with the state. It must be enforced by its legitimate representatives, it has nothing to do with robbers and poli games or Indian lis. The occasional chase and rabble have given way to hard street battles. The body cameras intended for police officers in action in Zurich are now still among the almost harmless new means of protection. A (not only) well-known police man from Grossbasel, who is about to retire, says it clearly: I was once proud and happy to have chosen the police profession. Today I would never take up such a career again, although we need us now more than ever.