Fact check: Photos show Swiss law enforcement, not a World Economic Forum police force

·3 min read

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."

The claim was amplified by right-wing figures including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk.

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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.

Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Klaus Schwab is seen at the opening of the WEF Davos Agenda virtual sessions at the WEF's headquarters in Cologny near Geneva on January 17, 2022. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)
Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Klaus Schwab is seen at the opening of the WEF Davos Agenda virtual sessions at the WEF's headquarters in Cologny near Geneva on January 17, 2022. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

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.

A patch above the WEF one in the image confirms this, translating to “Security Service of the Graubünden Cantonal Police,” according to Google Translate.

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.

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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.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Photos show Swiss force, not World Economic Forum police