The claim: The World Economic Forum has its own police force
The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland prompted social media claims that the organization has its own police force patrolling the host city.
“‘World Economic Forum Police’ roaming the streets of Davos with fully-automatic weapons. A private policing force to protect the elite and hassle independent journalists,” reads part of a May 25 Facebook post that was shared more than 100 times in less than two days. It included a photo of an officer wearing a patch with the words "World Economic Forum Police 2022."
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While the patch is legitimate, the assertion that it is tied to a World Economic Forum police force is not.
USA TODAY reached out to social media users who shared the claim for comment.
Patches worn by local police force during annual meetings
The image shows a member of a local law enforcement unit wearing a patch designating the force's presence at the meeting.
“The World Economic Forum has no police force. This is the police of the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland,” Madeleine Hillyer, spokesperson for the World Economic Forum, told USA TODAY in a May 24 email.
The police force assists with security for the annual meetings and is “responsible for planning that takes account of security threats which would have an impact beyond cantonal borders,” according to the agency’s website. The site also confirmed the agency would be serving in this capacity during the 2022 meeting.
Graubünden police told Reuters the badge in question is an additional one that gets redesigned each year and “serves the team spirit for use around the annual meeting.” The agency did not respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.
Graubünden police also confirmed that the World Economic Forum does not have its own police force, according to Reuters.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that the World Economic Forum has its own police force. The photo included in social media posts shows an officer with a local police unit that creates special patches when it provides security for the World Economic Forum's annual meeting.
Our fact-check sources:
Madeleine Hillyer, May 24, Email exchange with USA TODAY
The Federal Council, accessed May 24, World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022
Google Translate, accessed May 24, "Ordnungsdienst Kantonspolizei Graubünden" translation
Reuters, May 24, Fact Check - The World Economic Forum does not have a police force
Ricardo, Nov. 17, 2021, Ordnungsdienst Kantonspolizei Graubünden patch
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Photos show Swiss force, not World Economic Forum police