History of the Italian State Police

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The history of the Italian State Police (Polizia di Stato) began in 1848, continued through the State Police Reform Act of 1981, until today, thus producing more than a century and a half of the institutional history of the men and women who have performed this duty and sometimes gave their lives.

The nineteenth century: the birth, growth[edit]

The department of the Cavalry of the Italian State Police inherits a very ancient tradition, dating back to 'the nineteenth century, the predominant use is for law and order patrols and detail the origins of the administration of public security in the modern sense, be traced back to King Carlo Alberto, who formed in 1848 as civil administration. In the reorganization of the Savoy state, the spatial distribution of the forces of military control [2], was joined by a civilian structure composed of delegates from the police. Soon, the peculiar needs of these, together with the observation of what was developing in other states, required the establishment of the armed forces specially dedicated to police functions, preferably released from certain obligations typical of traditional military forces.

Mounted State Police

The first corps that gave life to the police at the time were the Municipal Militia and National Guard. Successively, with the law July 11, 1852, and 1404, created the Public Safety Guards, who had two companies at Turin and Genoa (in addition to some stations). The law November 13, 1859, and 3720, it extended the territorial jurisdiction for all states (minus Tuscany), which were gradually annexing the Kingdom of Sardinia, the same rule given command of the duties of public security as quaestor of the city capital of the province with over 60,000 inhabitants, and for the first time it was established the role of inspectors.

The Lamborghini Gallardo, supplied with the Traffic Police on duty to supervise Salerno-Reggio Calabria highway.

The Royal Decree of October 9, 1861, n. 255, created the General Directorate of Public Security, thereby increasing temporarily the structure, then grew up to the rank of division, but the 'next year, with the establishment of the Secretariat General of the Interior Ministry, the administration was reduced to the rank Division and placed under the responsibility of the Secretary General. The activities of the Corps were also distinct in 1880, in police administration, police and judicial affairs division reserved.

By Royal Decree of July 3, 1887, n. 4707, the government De Pretis restored the Directorate General. In December 1890 (Interior Minister Francesco Crispi) The union of the Militia and the Municipal Public Security Guards, was born on Guards City.

The twentieth century[edit]

Science and politics[edit]

The Italian police 1971 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super, the "Pantera", in the classic green livery, the vehicle and symbol of State Police in the 1960s.

In 1902, mainly by Salvatore Ottolenghi, a student of Cesare Lombroso [3], during the Giolitti Government II founded the school of forensic science [4], led by its founder, the same Ottolenghi, first student of the techniques scientific investigation.

In 1917 was instituted the UCI, Central Office investigations, which gathered in part the legacy of the Political Affairs Division confidential and would spent on counterintelligence, and the control was assigned to Gast.

In August 1919, during the Nitti Government II, City Guards were disbanded and were up the body of the Royal Guard of Public Safety (12 divisions with 40,000 men), hand-to-order military deputy to the maintenance of 'public order and quite free from any influence of politics, and the corps of detectives (8,000 men), specializing in the tasks of the judicial police.

The Fascist Police Scheme[edit]

On December 31, 1922 Benito Mussolini, head of the infant government, led the two bodies (causing violent reactions of some negligence on the part of the troops involved), which were then absorbed into the Army of the Royal Carabinieri. In the same maneuver, was created the Volunteer Militia for National Security or MVSN.

A FIAT Campagnola, the vehicle that replaced the American jeep, beyond the obvious urban use, was used by the Celere riot police and many other departments.

Among the many reasons that have been proposed for this choice, many scholars are inclined to consider it more likely the need for the new chairman of the board to refer to more easily control all the state structures (what would later be most evident when all Fascist governments were organized as a paramilitary): If the troops of the two military police was certainly in the upper part of the chain of command was rather civil, so do not undergo the rigors of the regulations that underlie the men in uniform, first of all precisely the iron chain of command. With the unification of the carabinieri would be easier to control over all the police through the control of the only weapon that Mussolini considered within his reach. The formation of the Militia, due also to Dino Grandi, responded to the need instead to frame forms legally acceptable (as well as smuggled grateful "recognition") the "de facto forces" of the squad.

Nevertheless, the distinction of a special police functions still needed to fascism, but being able to resolve the issue with the centralization of command at the Interior Ministry, which could have the forces of the Ministry of War [5]. The offices of government were therefore maintained direct emanation in place, with even some small operation that showed continued attention. By Royal Decree of November 11, 1923, n. 2395, the figure of the Director General of Public Security was renamed (without other substantive changes) in "General Intendant of Police", by Royal Decree December 20, 1923, n. 2908, which converted the existing anchor name "Chief of Police."

In April 1925 was (re) constitute the body of public security officials, which resumed if only the tradition of the dissolved bodies, in part to regain the consent from the police, far above the melting down (which collaterally had also undermined the internal consistency between the Police, in which they were paid indiscriminately former police officers) and the growth of the power of the militia, in which there were, during the fascism, a number of skills or interference in fact. The reconstitution of the body is reached, however, because the Carabinieri, the most ancient traditions, had remained loyal to the crown and it was argued, the attempt to gain control was stopped before colliding with an unfortunate defeat.

The Bocchini Era[edit]

In 1926 he was appointed Police Chief Arturo Bocchini, just days after his appointment was issued the text of the Law of Public Security (TULPS), which regulates in minute detail the daily life so unusual, and shortly after that was established the Special Tribunal (which had as its task the fight against political opponents), and reinstated the death penalty.

Two Alfa Romeo 159s assigned to the Reparto volanti (flying squad).

Bocchini had always the supreme mission of safeguarding the Duce and in this task he increased the common organizational capacity building in 1930 the OVRA (Organismo di Vigilanza per la Repressione dell'Antifascismo - Supervisory Body for the Suppression of anti). In addition, he introduced significant changes in the organizational and technical operation of police stations (many of which have not abolished the Republican era), so you can easily set up an impressive collection of data in real time that the Palazzo Venezia was also analyzed to monitor the popular consensus. Among these changes the so-called "morning" bureaucratic relationship with data on present strength and statements of facts (crime, accidents, other events of importance) of the previous day, traditionally the morning is delivered to the recipient (typically the commissioner, but also responsible other commands) just when taking office in the morning, hence the name.

From an operational standpoint, with the conquest of colonies, Bocchini devised a special mini-police force for the new territories, the Colonial Police Corps, later renamed the Italian Africa Police (PAI) with unusual uniforms and equipment, echoed from the experiences of explorers from England, and fitted with a preview of the newly made Beretta Model 38 submachine gun, characterized by a kind of radiator for cooling the barrel.

Bocchini was a very capable Chief of Police, who managed to run almost single organization soon returned impressive and delicate, a body whose control was obviously essential for the proper keeping of the government and that he himself seems to have wanted to recreate after dissolution of '22, in order to constitute a sort of army to the government (which also had already framed the elements of the militia squads). The police, therefore, was loyal to the government, the Carabinieri the King of Italy, Bocchini was because the real author of a duplication of the national structures of police and military (and intelligence) that best represents the reason for the substantial balance between the Crown and the black fez. In this role, Bocchini was one of the fundamental pillars upon which the edifice of the regime. Bocchini was responsible for conducting the most sensitive profiling of the most prominent of the Italian society of the period, contributing to the creation of the famous "secret archive" of Mussolini. Bocchini was still to return to the Duce personally witnessed a very popular discontent caused by the racial laws.

In this regard, it was among the many dead of Police (through its various denominations), the noble if not unique, Giovanni Palatucci, an official of the Immigration Office, which prevented the deportation of thousands of Jews and that he was deported and died at Mauthausen.

Bocchini died in circumstances that some have considered "not clear" (not least because very little after the presentation of disclosures in which it warned Mussolini very little consensus on the military and the population faced with the prospect of following the Germany in the war), succeeded Carmine Senise, which some was a man of Badoglio, that the king also Senise, indeed, was aware of the discontent and indeed foresaw the possible dismissal of Mussolini by King, but managed to maintain its appears distinct from the regime.

The Senise Era and the Police War[edit]

The war led the police to update their purpose of use, to cope with situations of public policy course exceptional. In this, it was noted, the zeal of repression was brought to an end almost physiologically, registering an infinite number of crimes committed with actual causes of severe need, while for political offenses, the jurisdiction was transferred almost entirely to military forces. Much as the recruitment of temporary staff required for military forces to fight.

Senise was replaced in April 1943 on the occasion of a general reshuffling of institutional leaders wanted by Mussolini, this reshuffle (which deprived the crown of a man ever trusted a chair so delicate) was considered by some historians real time when the Quirinal was decided, approaching Dino Grandi, to get rid of Mussolini. It is true indeed, that after the July 25, Senise was quickly renamed by Badoglio as Chief of Police. It should be mentioned that Senise was one of the few authorities who do not follow the King and Badoglio in his flight to the South after the 'armistice Cassibile and that was why he was arrested in Rome by the Germans (by Erich Priebke) and was deported to a concentration camp from which he was released at the end of the war.

Post Armistice[edit]

On September 6, 1943, when the Armistice of Cassibile had already been signed in secret, before they were given public notice had been disbanded the militia, returning to the police all its major functions.

On November 2, 1944, a legislative decree Lieutenant of the Realm, was re-imposed the guards, public security, which this time had the status of military force, breaking the tradition that had always seen the police as armed civilian body (except in the short term absorption Carabinieri in war).

The end of the war was preceded and followed by situations of serious hardship administration, unable to fulfill its institutional duties with satisfactory results. The division of the country and the civil war, along with the widespread banditry, prevented to consider Italy a country "safe." In addition, the police under the leadership of Bocchini was very closely linked to governmental affairs, and then not to collect the most appropriate trust. Shortly before the liberation, it was therefore necessary to issue the ban on membership in political parties or trade unions to all members of the Body, to dispel the suspicion that the police activities could still suffer "guidelines." The spontaneous effiorescenza abundance of problems, also joined the controversial use of police from the government Badoglio, who made use geared towards a concept quite briskly on how to counter the movements of the square and the brawls: animosities were sedated with frequent use of weapons, causing dozens of deaths, despite the time was already plenty of conflict on their behalf, aroused wide condemnation in civil society.

Despite the gravity of the situation generally, in 1945 it gave birth to the specialty of the Railway Police and Traffic Police, the first compartment was installed at the police headquarters in Milan.

Post World War Two: Towards the new police[edit]

The Ministry of the Interior, after the liberation, was Giuseppe Romita, who also made use of the police later considered questionable by many parties. Romita was to establish the "Celere" [6], mandated to help in public security in the post-Liberation era. The Celere was fitted with wooden truncheons at first [7] and some jeeps were provided by the United States Armed Forces.

In the seventies, under minister Cossiga, the cars were repainted in the new white and blue livery. The newly designed Alfa Romeo Giulietta came directly supplied with the new colors.

Romita, proud of his creation, he turned his attention to the large Celere, who took so once brisk and sometimes nonchalant: during the referendum of 1946 for the option between monarchy and republic, the new Celere raised serious allegations against the royal police who would, they argued, hampered its actions.

The appointment as Minister of Interior Mario Scelba, in 1947, had a large effect in the rapid reorganization of the police. Elements introduced at the end of the war were disbanded, the so-called auxiliary police, and taken care of loyalty to the state and democracy.

The Celere, however, still grew by perfecting the equipment (it was equipped with heavy machine guns and even mortars) as a full-time paramilitary national police force capable of situations that the onset of war the cold war made it not unlikely. At the same time, the organization of being revised and certain specialties were divided into separate departments directly dependent on the general direction. These were among the postal police, the traffic police, the railway police and border police.

In December 1959 the Women's Police Corps was created, evidently composed of female staff and dedicated to sensitive issues of great moral importance, such as the protection of women and the protection of minors, the body, parallel to the police "traditional", had also practical purpose of supporting this for some tasks that could not be entrusted to men, such as searching corporal women. The almost simultaneous introduction of the discussed Merlin Law, which came into force on 1 September 1959 and the regulations on prostitution, contributing to increase the skills and staffing needs, making the female corps of even more immediate utility.

Angelo Vicari and the new Police[edit]

The sixties, the story dominated by youth movements and changes of society, which linked the review to revitalizing the economy of social relations, were led by the figure of the police prefect Angelo Vicari, who left a trail of critical importance.

Vicari created the criminal police (Criminalpol), initially as a division for Coordination (concept once again borrowed from other foreign corps) 's Interpol with some internal investigative services. He also had a review of the organization of schools of education, constituted an autonomous division, and the transformation of the Higher School of Police in the Academy of Police. His era was marked by an increased difference and distinguishment between the military and civil police officers within the police services of the republic.

With the reform of 1981, women have had access to all roles and departments of the State Police, including the departments of Traffic Police has always been considered especially selective and renowned for training and performances, such as on parade.

In any event, the 'military' officers were trained and managed in a manner akin to the officers of the Carabinieri and, as such potential field grade officers were to study in the Scuola di guerra dell'esercito (it) before posting to more higher commands of the police.

In this particular situation the police had come to interpret "Italian" with the strict provisions of the "diktat", the peace treaty which imposed a severe limitation on the number of soldiers that Italy could recruit: with the militarization Police Commissioner, who had not been considered by the Treaty, the police could act as soldiers, "added 'cunningly evading the terms of the yield and making the country the troops believed that Rome needed. In addition, the costs for maintaining organ so large is justified both by the availability of police force capable of guaranteeing a certain robustness to the system, both on a sort of solidarity (with the recruitment of unemployed) that was even easier for certain forms of political clientelism (and therefore indirectly support of consensus).

The police were not only a collection center for day laborers that the crisis of agriculture pushed towards the 'emigration and forced new buildings, badly paid and less gratifying: on the one hand, this seemed to be on the other grew technically and soon gained among the population, although it had almost absolute confidence in the Carabinieri, a new reputation as a rewarding effect. Historian physiological antagonism with the weapon was done in terms of technological competition, and was the golden age, for some almost mythological transformation of the police in a body of sophisticated efficiency. Many specialties were created, while the police stations specializing special teams dedicated to certain types of employment: aviation, homicide investigation and mobile patrol units.

Accomplice a taste of journalism, who poured in newspapers the echoes of literary noir fashion, great emphasis was given to the police every day inspired the fantasies of ordinary people. From the pages of news, which made it exciting too bogged sheets increasingly politicized, it evoked the names of policemen who were making daily actions worthy of cinema (and then the new medium of television) and popular amongst all should probably remember the name of Marshal Armando Spatafora, called "Armandino", the only licensed guide service of the Ferrari (250 GTE), black, supplied with the Flying Squad in Rome. His actions, which gave rise to a surreal urban legends like the famous chase down the steps of Trinita dei Monti, were a spectacular side of the police, which still constitutes a charm sui generis.

Spatafora also modernized the patrol units within the civil police. The first radio station was established at police headquarters in Milan, where he installed a gigantic apparatus "Westinghouse 21" American-made, the original brand ( "W") was made in the code radio as "Double Sail" and "Double Vela 21 "thus became the code name of the plant, while cars derive their names in radio code on the brand of equipment on board," Iris ". he plant was actually a trading desk which began to flow all the information necessary for prompt intervention in the urban areas of expertise, and soon would become the terminal of the single emergency, the 113.

The financial administration of the Treasurer, who was struggling to cope with new demands that the daily reality, the election promises and agreements with other police forces and Interpol imposed could not keep up. The "modern" pistol Beretta Model "51", as the name indicates it was some time available, was slow to replace the old "34" (and its updated version, the "35") and if you could, there were sometimes problems with the cartridges in the innovative arms "9 mm Parabellum. Worse were rifles, obsolete Beretta MAB, which magazines were often empty and the function of which was often only that of visual deterrence, being completely harmless to the lack of bullets.

The evolution of technology was also followed closely by crime, which began to organize themselves and that soon the police would have undermined the control of some parts of the territory. The old "bad" is urbanized and became a sort of underground network that was left over to everyday life, which emerged to perform robberies, murders and extortion, and then immediately submerge into the new in the anonymity of metropolitan cities. The police, for obvious reasons select "good people", was struggling to find points of contact useful for the prevention and repression, losing ground in favor of offenders despite many efforts.

The Challenging Years[edit]

PS655 police boat in the channels of Venice. The State Police also has a maritime service, which carries out surveillance and rescuing the dependencies of the relevant police station. A new divers service joins the Operations Department and is based in La Spezia.

The seventies saw the police services beyond the homologous areas of the Carabinieri, under operating pressures of commitment and seriousness comparable to a state of siege.

In this decade there were indeed dramatic increase in crime which reached dangerous numbers tragic simultaneously in many "specialists", including (but not limited to) terrorism, attempted coups, banditry (kidnapping), smuggling, trafficking in narcotics, robbery, extortion, Mafia robberies, racketeering and of 'wear, as well as political effervescence that for many years resulted in daily armed clashes between young people from opposing factions and between them and the police. This last point was perhaps the main theme of the troubled decade and brought home by the echoes of the "French May" (1968), arrived in Italy with a lag. Spontaneous student movements, mostly grouped in one area, though of uncertain terms, left, took on the role of opposition to a system whose effective and substantive democracy was seriously challenged. The fresh knowledge that remained stuck in the first wave of change in direction purely capitalist and consumerist economic system, was turning in the direction of fighting the state which promoted this system through its institutions and its symbols, the most obvious of these - and perhaps the most immediately attacked - was just the police (this also means the weapon).

From the first riots in the Faculty of Architecture of Rome (Valle Giulia), ran a road of violence increasing frequency in all major Italian cities, they saw the police forced in practice to organize real actions against guerrillas, cooling, however, and not without advantage, tactics and strategies of the army of Imperial Rome (e.g. Testudo, training of soldiers who joined the shields to protect themselves from the launch of blunt objects). The study of tear gas shells was accelerated, a kind of grenades are capable of emitting just gas tear, and therefore the department of public police were never again bear the sunset "Musket 91", which was applied a small Tromboncino for such launches. They were quickly (and expensively) provided armored cars and vans (later called directly "armored"), are the budgetary funds for bullets and introduced the short machine gun Beretta M12 [8], were reviewed in full service anti-sabotage and Stock, and profiling "policies" were strengthened, as had not happened even in the police mouthpieces. On the other hand, cases of violence and repression of movements by the police occurred that echoed in the years to follow.

From the point of view purely of image, the uniforms were unified: if the forces deployed first in public wearing drab, leaving the others of the "broken" (blue-gray jacket and blue pants), all now wear it, vehicles (first gray for public police and green, indeed "bucks" for the rest) were all repainted with the innovative white and blue livery. Disappeared the differences between the uniforms of the officers and those of the staff of the roles below (although recently have been reintroduced small differences, for example for the alamari (frogmen).

Occurred in the heart of the Left, among others, the dissenting voice of Pier Paolo Pasolini, who with raw honesty the cops knew, sometimes among enrolled in danger threshold of 'literacy, fault, and often unknowingly sent against demonstrators, the real concrete holders of that proletariat in whose name the guerrilla actions were thrown - it marked the poet - from young people "spoiled children", intent on fighting a public middle classes that provide them with the shield which went home privately.

A Partenavia P.68 of the Flying Department Picture taken during "Giornata Azzurra" 2007 (Italian Air Force airshow) at Pratica di Mare AFB, Italy. Created in 1971, the Flying Department operates helicopters and airplanes for use in surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, relief to the citizenry, but also for transport of personnel and equipment.

Undoubtedly remain the full vividness of the political debate in many cases is still controversial, for reasons that were erect the flag: the death of Giuseppe Pinelli, such as that of commissioner Luigi Calabresi, already occurred at the time to foresee that the relationship between a part of citizens and institutions would be seriously flawed.

But the events were able to overcome the weather and the terror took hold, from right and left, with massacres, bombings, murders and other crimes (including robbery for self-financing), giving the title of the disastrous decade "years of lead. In these, the police suffered a terrible toll of human lives, regaining the solidarity with the blood of the population.

The emergency was met by the governments in office with some legislative maneuvering it, providing more flexible powers to staff (for example on police custody [9]), stoke controversy over the King's laws and the alleged "authoritarian," while managers were refurbished branches dedicated to the fight against terrorism. Born 's UCIGOS special branch officers, operating on the territory through the DIGOS of each police station and through the NOCS, elite corps for special operations.

In 1977 the law of reorganization of the intelligence services, which on one hand he centralized the government the direct political control with the submission to CESIS other, it opened to facilitate operational coordination of services and the police, opened the operators hope the prospect of a reform of the police. Officials and the state demanded, his voice even more pressing, a review of working conditions, supervision of career, streamlining and facilitation of tasks, as well as better compliance with the task of sacrifice in which they found, however unseemly for salaries for reasons of occupation.

The Reforms of 1981[edit]

The Law No 121 of 1 April 1981 was created to answer some of those instances and problems facing the police.

Until the eighties, under the heading Police were grouped subjects belonging to three separate organizations:

  • State Police officials, civil servants who had the responsibility of managing the offices of the Department of Public Order and in police stations and Commissariats were responsible for conducting the business and services of the Judicial Police and Public Order;
  • Officers, noncommissioned officers and enlisted men of the Public Security Corps, which operates, to the respective levels of responsibility, the services of the Judicial Police and Police, as well as personnel from the Traffic Police, Railway Police, Border Police and Postal Police;
  • and the inspectors, commissioners, assistants and constables of the women's police force who are involved in preventing and combating crime of morality, women and children.
With the reform of 1981, the State Police was no longer a military corps, but it preserves its past military traditions. Women officer cadets in the Republic Day 2007.

With the reform imposed by the Law 121, the new State Police, a " corpo civile militarmente organizzato " (civic body militarily organization) to protect the State and citizens from crime and disturbance of public order, integrated personnel from the Public Security Corps and the Women's Police Corps into one, joining the civil officials and commissariats under the old police. The new Police became a civil body in all respects (new recruits and all agents no longer wore the star, the symbol of the military, and was replaced by the monogram "RI" [10]), open to men and women. The prohibition to be part and join political organizations or unions was partly mitigated by the possibility to form unions affairs, the most representative of which [11] soon became the SIULP (Sindacato Italiano Unitario Lavoratori Polizia - Union of Italian Workers Unitary Police) and enactment of major trade union confederations, and SAP (Sindacato Autonomo di Polizia - Union of Autonomous Police), placed on a position of equidistance from the political and social forces. [12].

The grades were renamed, restructured roles with the re-creation of the role of Inspectors, inserted between one of the Stewards (formerly non-commissioned officers) and officials (formerly officers).

The reform provides for the organization of staff in 3 different organizational roles: the role of the police role in the technical / scientific-technical and role of health.


1. Source: Page 207, Atlante De Agostini 2008 Calendar

2. The first Granatieri di Sardegna e Carabinieri or Grenadiers of Sardinia and Carabinieri, then only the latter.

3. He created the discipline of forensic science.

4. Then made compulsory for officials, during the Zanardelli government.

5. Former name of the department of defense today.

6. Whose name is traditionally feminine because initially designed as a "squadra" (Squad) or "compagnia" (company, even if he grew to the rank of department.

7. Taking up the suggestion of the British police, who controlled at that time, and in that way, the city of Trieste.

8. Then M12S.

9. In practice, even a simple agent was permitted to conduct at its discretion, also enforced by any citizen of the police station for questioning, and retaining first for a maximum of 48 hours, then dropped to 24.

10. Which stands for "Repubblica Italiana" (Italian Republic) and that some time was used on military badges in place of the cross of Savoy monarchy ancestry

11. The number of members

12. Other syndicates operating today, after a few divisions between unions and new formations are the COISP the Consap, the Federazione Sindacale di Polizia (Police Federation of Trade Unions or FSP), the SILP for CGIL and UILPS and SIAP


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