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Is the WEF police force badge real? Jack Posobiec ‘detained’ at Davos

Bruno Cooke May 24, 2022
wef police badge
Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

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American alt-right media personality Jack Posobiec changed his Twitter display name to “WEF Detainee Poso” after Swiss police questioned him in Davos yesterday, and shared photos of what look like World Economic Forum (WEF) police badges. Is there a special police force for Davos during the WEF, and what kind of badges do they wear?

Photos of WEF police badges circulate after Jack Posobiec’s crew is told to stop filming in Davos

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is underway in Davos. It started on 22 May and is due to end on 26 May.

Since footage of the interaction Jack Posobiec’s team had with Swiss police yesterday went viral, people have been sharing photos of police officers wearing special WEF badges.

In Switzerland, where the WEF takes place, the right to one’s own image is an integral part of the “general personality right”. As such, each person can decide for themselves whether and in what context to allow images of themselves to be taken.

This becomes “problematic” if the photographer (or videographer) doesn’t come to an agreement with their subject before taking photos (or capturing video).

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Is there a World Economic Forum police force that wear special WEF badges?

The WEF usually takes place in January. But this year, Omicron uncertainty prompted its organisers to delay the Davos summit to midyear. 

As a result of this, and also because of the war in Ukraine, the Swiss government has deployed extra security forces in Davos to ensure the security of the land and skies during the forum.

“Nearly 5,000 Swiss military personnel have joined local police”, writes The Economic Times, “to secure this small Swiss town for the annual meeting.”

Swiss armed forces will remain in place until 30 May 2022.

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Photo by POOL ERIC LALMAND/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

“The federal parliament has set an upper limit of 5,000 army members for the WEF deployment of the army in the assistance service, which lasts from May 20 to 30 this year, due to the postponement of the annual meeting,” the outlet quotes the Swiss government as saying.

Measures include “permanent patrolling by armed fighter jets, ground-based air defence, additional radars, increased airspace surveillance and air police service”.

It appears there is not an official WEF police force, but instead extra personnel brought in from other services, such as the army and security forces during the multi-day event.

Why do the officers policing the WEF have ibexes on their badges?

Davos is in the canton of Graubünden, in Switzerland. Like any police force, Graubünden personnel have a specific set of insignia to represent levels of authority.

But officers deployed as part of WEF security appear to wear a special badge. It bears the words, “World Economic Forum Police”. 

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Find an example of a WEF police badge from 2009 here. One from this year is currently for sale on the Swiss auction site Ricardo.

The ibex on the badge is the symbol of one of the three former territories in Graubünden. And, after a slump in 2018, the number of ibex has been increasing in recent years. 2020 saw “a record since their extinction in Switzerland”, according to the Federal Office for the Environment (via SwissInfo).

The cultural significance of the ibex, therefore, explains the animal’s presence on the WEF police force badge.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.