Fighting organized crime in Italy
Italy is located at the heart of Europe, surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea and sharing open land borders with four other European Union countries. This geographic location makes Italy attractive to local, regional and global organized crime groups.
Mafia-type criminal organizations in Italy operate behind the façade of legitimate business, making them increasingly difficult to detect. Their primary areas of activity include international drug and arms trafficking, trafficking in human beings, people smuggling, money laundering and cybercrime. Italy concentrates considerable law enforcement resources on monitoring the growing threat to national security of global terrorism.
The international characteristics of these crime areas and their links with crime networks around the world make the role of the INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) in Rome fundamental to maintaining national and regional security
INTERPOL in Italy
The NCB for Italy is part of the International Police Cooperation Service (SCIP), a branch of the Public Security Department (PSD).
SCIP is a multi-agency DPS unit: the Polizia di Stato, Carabinieri and Guardia di Finanza head it, on a rotation basis. Officers representing all police forces staff it.
NCB Rome coordinates international investigations and police action on behalf of Italy’s four principal police forces. It circulates information between agencies and staff, particularly as it relates to people suspected of aiding and abetting migrant smuggling and human being trafficking, as well as the identification and localisation of foreign terrorist fighters.
To boost national security and investigations for national law enforcement, the NCB has given national police forces across Italy access to INTERPOL’s databases on wanted people, stolen passports and stolen vehicles, meaning they can quickly determine if a person is a potential criminal or security threat.
By providing globally-sourced intelligence about regional crime trends, the NCB helps police officers across Italy detect and investigate the flow of illicit goods along trafficking routes in and around the country. NCB Rome is a regular partner in INTERPOL-led global police operations in the region.
Law enforcement in Italy
The national authority for public order and security in Italy is the Ministry of Interior. It has command over the four principal police forces which operate throughout the country, exercising its authority over them through its Department of Public Security (DPS).
The DPS is headed by the “Chief of Police - Director General of Public Security” who is appointed by the President of the Italian Republic upon recommendation of the Ministry of Interior.
The DPS is in charge of coordinating law enforcement action by the four national police forces. Their investigations are coordinated through the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and each one sits structurally in a different Ministry:
- Polizia di Stato (Ministry of Interior): serving as the state police, this national police force is part of DPS. Its responsibilities include investigative and law enforcement duties, and the security of motorway, railway, and waterway networks;
- Arma dei Carabinieri (Ministry of Defence): a force with military status and nationwide remit for crime investigations. It also serves as the military police for the Italian armed forces and can be called upon for national defence action;
- Guardia di Finanza (Ministry of Economy and Finance): a force with military status and nationwide remit for financial crime investigations;
- Polizia Penitenziaria (Ministry of Justice): a force with nationwide remit for prison security, inmate safety and transportation.