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Old 11.06.2021, 10:34
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Customs police checks in trains?

Hi!

I've been taking the usual Lausanne - Geneva train route to work today when a men came and was standing in front of me for a few seconds silently (until I looked at him), then showed his badge (customs) and asked for my documents. I gave him my permit, he typed some info from into into a device he had and left.

The strange thing to me was that he profiled specifically me in the entire carriage, and did not continue his checks once he was done with me.
Is it just an occasional routine check, does it happen sometimes? And why is customs checking only my documents and not contents of my bag for example? And, after all, are customs police allowed to ask any passenger for documents for no good reason (including the Swiss, because how they could tell the difference by looks) in a train going through Nyon, for example?
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Old 11.06.2021, 10:41
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Re: Customs police checks in trains?

I guess there are no customs police but border police (garde-frontiere in French).

Geneva is a frontier, the whole canton is surrounded by France, even commuter trains cross the border.
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Old 11.06.2021, 10:43
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Re: Customs police checks in trains?

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I guess there are no customs police but border police (garde-frontiere in French).

Geneva is a frontier, the whole canton is surrounded by France, even commuter trains cross the border.
I think he had the word "customs" on his badge
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Old 11.06.2021, 10:45
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Re: Customs police checks in trains?

Nevertheless does it happen to you from time to time ? I know it is his job but it felt weird he profiled just one guy.
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Old 11.06.2021, 10:48
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Re: Customs police checks in trains?

I used to travel to Italy regularly and when the inspectors came, they would basically home in on 'the black guy' on the train. As a non-white person, I would try to sit in the same carriage as I would effectively have a decoy that ensured that customs would harass them instead of me.
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Old 11.06.2021, 10:52
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Re: Customs police checks in trains?

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I used to travel to Italy regularly and when the inspectors came, they would basically home in on 'the black guy' on the train. As a non-white person, I would try to sit in the same carriage as I would effectively have a decoy that ensured that customs would harass them instead of me.
I am a white guy from the Central Europe, dressed regularly (a tshirt etc)
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Old 11.06.2021, 10:54
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Re: Customs police checks in trains?

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Nevertheless does it happen to you from time to time ? I know it is his job but it felt weird he profiled just one guy.
Only time I've been checked by the Swiss border police I was in the train from Frankfurt to Basel. I was asked if I brought meat or cigarettes. I just laughed and let them check my baggage.

Some time ago I traveled a lot in the IC5 between Neuchatel and Aarau. At least once a month I saw the border police asking other people for their docs. Even as a coffee-milk skin guy, I was never asked for anything. I think drinking a beer or a 5 dl. wine made me look as local as possible After 2-3 months even the train conductors remember who has a GA and don't ask you anymore.

PS. this is the badge of the border police. "Customs" is suspicious


Last edited by Axa; 11.06.2021 at 11:01. Reason: added the Swiss border police badge
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Old 11.06.2021, 10:57
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Re: Customs police checks in trains?

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Nevertheless does it happen to you from time to time ? I know it is his job but it felt weird he profiled just one guy.
The probably were looking for someone specific who you might have resembled. Perhaps someone tall, dark and handsome.

I live near Nyon close to the frontier and we often see the garde-frontier. I’ve seen them stopping vehicles along the lake-road. Sometimes a document check, less often a vehicle check.

None of the Swiss languages use the word ‘customs’, or anything even close.
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Old 11.06.2021, 11:00
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Re: Customs police checks in trains?

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are customs police allowed to ask any passenger for documents for no good reason?
They are border guards, NOT customs police, and yes, they can, they have far more power that normal police.

Tom
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Old 11.06.2021, 11:11
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Re: Customs police checks in trains?

Okay, thanks for your replies, I think I saw this word but maybe I am imagining things I see!
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Old 11.06.2021, 11:18
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Re: Customs police checks in trains?

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Okay, thanks for your replies, I think I saw this word but maybe I am imagining things I see!
Zoll, Douanes, Dogane, would be used rather than "Customs", and the force itself is Gardes-Frontieres, Grenzwache or Garde-Frontera (sp?).
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Old 11.06.2021, 11:55
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Re: Customs police checks in trains?

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Zoll, Douanes, Dogane, would be used rather than "Customs", and the force itself is Gardes-Frontieres, Grenzwache or Garde-Frontera (sp?).
It changed on 1.1.2021, as they incorporated Customs with the Border Control Guards.

https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home...erationen.html

Tom

Last edited by st2lemans; 11.06.2021 at 12:10.
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Old 11.06.2021, 12:07
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Re: Customs police checks in trains?

I've noticed a marked increase in border checks/activity in recent weeks in the area.

I think they are stepping up to high security in prep for the upcoming Biden - Putin summit in Gva next week. Parts of Genève will be very difficult next week, Wed. in particular.
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Old 11.06.2021, 12:15
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Re: Customs police checks in trains?

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It changed on 1.1.2021, as they incorporated Customs with the Border Control Guards.

https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home...erationen.html

Tom
Shit, I've been stuck at home too long....the border police changed their name and I haven't noticed. This is depressing
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Old 11.06.2021, 12:21
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Re: Customs police checks in trains?

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It changed on 1.1.2021, as they incorporated Customs with the Border Control Guards.

https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home...erationen.html

Tom
Again the word "customs" appears only in the English Version of that document.
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Old 11.06.2021, 12:31
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Re: Customs police checks in trains?

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Again the word "customs" appears only in the English Version of that document.
It was in the bottom part of the badge if I am not mistaking anything.
Anyways, the Biden-Putin explanation makes a perfect sense, I would be also checking Central European guys considering our view on Putin. XD
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Old 11.06.2021, 12:36
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Re: Customs police checks in trains?

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I think he had the word "customs" on his badge
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The probably were looking for someone specific who you might have resembled. Perhaps someone tall, dark and handsome.

I live near Nyon close to the frontier and we often see the garde-frontier. I’ve seen them stopping vehicles along the lake-road. Sometimes a document check, less often a vehicle check.

None of the Swiss languages use the word ‘customs’, or anything even close.
Not true. In the German part these guys are called "Zöllner", I never heard anybody call them "Grenzwächter" around here. Except our German guests and friends maybe.
Their job-description may be different but we don't care.

Yes OP they can check people and cars. I think it's within a certain distance of the border but I'm not sure about that. At least they don't bother coming all the way to Zurich for example. So every time you think you've made it after passing the toll bar the friendly Swiss left wide open and unattended for you with a carload of goodies they wanna charge for you might be in for a nasty surprise a few kilometres on.
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Old 11.06.2021, 12:51
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Re: Customs police checks in trains?

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Again the word "customs" appears only in the English Version of that document.
In English, yes, rofl. That word appears endlessly in any other version but in the according language.

Here and here and here.
Dogana, Zoll, Douane = customs
Corpo delle guardie di confine, Grenzwache, gardes-frontière=border guard
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Old 11.06.2021, 12:54
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Re: Customs police checks in trains?

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Not true. In the German part these guys are called "Zöllner", I never heard anybody call them "Grenzwächter" around here.
That all changed on the first of this year.

Tom
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Old 11.06.2021, 13:00
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Re: Customs police checks in trains?

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That all changed on the first of this year.

Tom
What changed?! They were united (good thing) but their still called two things: I give you the German so nobody claims it appears only in Engish
<<Diese Zusammenführung und damit Stärkung der operativen Tätigkeit ist ein Eckpfeiler der Weiterentwicklung der EZV zum Bundesamt für Zoll und Grenzsicherheit BAZG. Damit einher geht die Schaffung des neuen Berufsbilds Fachspezialist/in Zoll und Grenzsicherheit.>>
Both names are still mentioned in the new name.

And do you really think we will stop calling them "Zöllner" here?
We would brake our tongues, calling them "Bundesämtler für Zoll und Grenzsicherheit" each time.
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