Municipal police (Italy)

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Vigile urbano in Florence
Paletta segnaletica della polizia municipale.png
Mounted Polizia municipale in Piazza della Signoria in Florence

The polizia municipale are the municipal police of Italy responsible to the mayors of the various municipalities of Italy. Traffic control is their main function in addition to enforcing national, regional and local laws regarding commerce, legal residence, pets and other administrative duties. They also have all other police duties, with the exception of public safety, because this is an exclusive duty of the Polizia di Stato and Polizia Municipale has only an auxiliary function. Thus, its member aren't automatically authorized to carry weapons while in their line of duty (like in Polizia di Stato, Carabinieri, Guardia di Finanza and so on). On the contrary, each municipality decides whether to arm its municipal police corp.

The Italian polizia municipale (PM) forces have 60,000 employees, Rome having the largest at several thousand. PM uniforms and vehicles have many different liveries depending on regional laws and local tastes and traditions.

Some municipal police, including those of Rome, are known as the vigili urbani (urban watch), and thus derive their name from the vigiles of ancient Rome. In other regions of Italy, these forces are also called polizia comunale, polizia urbana, and polizia locale.

In the autonomous province of Bolzano/Bozen, where German is an official language, the municipal police is also called Stadtpolizei or Gemeindepolizei. Municipal police vehicles in this region have both Italian and German names on them.

In the autonomous region of Aosta Valley, where French is an official language, the municipal police is also called police municipale. Municipal police vehicles in this region have both Italian and French names on them. There also are three trilingual municipalities where official languages are Italian, French and German and so their municipal police is also called "Gemeindepolizei".

In the provinces of Trieste, Gorizia and Udine of the autonomous region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, where Slovene is an official language, the municipal police is also called "Občinska policija". Municipal police vehicles in this provinces have both Italian and Slovene names on them.

Municipal police officers are still referred to as vigili (singular: vigile, meaning watchful, alert) but the official name is agente di polizia locale (APL), meaning 'local police officer'. In some regions, especially while regulating traffic, they wear white custodian helmets similar to the black helmets worn by British police officers. These helmets are worn by female as well as male officers.

Polizia municipale in dress uniform.

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