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Polizia di Stato

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Polizia di Stato

State Police
Polizia di Stato
Common name Polizia
Abbreviation P.S.
Logo of the State Police
Motto Sub lege libertas
Freedom under the law
Agency overview
Formed July 11, 1852
Employees 95,000 (2014)
Annual budget €7.8 billion (2014)
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
National agency Italy
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Rome
Sworn members 104,000+
Civilians 6,000-
Child agencies

The Polizia di Stato (State Police or P.S.) is one of the national police forces of Italy.

It is the main police force for providing police duties and it is also responsible for highway patrol (autostrade), railways (ferrovie), airports (aeroporti), customs (together with the Guardia di Finanza) as well as certain waterways, and assisting the local police forces.

It was a military force until 1981 when, with the Italian State Law 121, it became a civil force,[1] in contrast to the other main police forces of Italy, the Arma dei Carabinieri, which is a military police (gendarmerie) force[2][3] and the Guardia di Finanza, the Italian customs and border protection police that also falls in the military corps category.[4]

The Polizia di Stato is the principal Italian police force for the maintenance of public security as since it is run directly from the Dipartimento della Pubblica Sicurezza (Department of Public Security), and the keeping of public order (ordine pubblico).


  • History 1
  • Strength 2
  • Organization 3
    • Headquarters organization 3.1
    • Interregional organization 3.2
    • Questure 3.3
    • Commissariati di Pubblica Sicurezza 3.4
  • Special operations 4
    • Highway patrol 4.1
    • Railway Police 4.2
    • Post and telecommunications 4.3
    • Immigration and Border Police 4.4
    • Mobile units 4.5
    • Anti Terrorism Police 4.6
  • Training 5
  • Weapons 6
  • Vehicles 7
  • Rank structure and insignia 8
    • Agenti and Assistenti role 8.1
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11



The State Police has an authorised strength by law of 115,000 people. However, there are approximately 110,000 people of which 16,000 are women. Just under 6,000 employees are civilian support personnel with technical skills who provide logistic and technical support. In 2005 the State Police contained 105,324 members as follows: 893 dirigenti (leaders/officers), 1,839 vice questori (Vice-Questors), 723 commissari capo (Chief Superintendents), 19,230 ispettori (Inspectors), 666 vice ispettori (Vice-Inspectors), 13,677 sovrintendenti (Sergeants), 38,976 assistenti (Assistants), and 29,320 agenti (agents).[5][6][7][8]

Approximately 1,500 officers are assigned to the "neighbourhood police" service, the Polizia di Quartiere, which has a police presence on the streets and deters crime. Pairs of poliziotti (policemen) patrol areas of major cities on foot.


The headquarters of the Polizia di Stato are in Rome and its chief is referred to as the Capo della Polizia (Chief of the Police) with official Rank of Capo della Polizia - Direttore Generale della Pubblica Sicurezza (Chief of the Police - Director General of the Public Security). The Chief of the State Police is also the Honorary President of the National Association of State Police (Associazione Nazionale della Polizia di Stato). Three vice chiefs/director generals report to the chief and their main functions are:

  • accomplishment of the functions
  • planning and coordination activity
  • Director of the Criminal Investigation Police

The force is organized on a regional and provincial basis. Every major Italian town or city has a main P.d.S. station called a Questura run by a Questore (that is also Autorità Provinciale di Pubblica Sicurezza - Provincial Authority of Public Security). In smaller settlements, a Vice Questore Aggiunto or Commissario Capo (Commissioner Chief) runs the P.d.S. offices. There are also sub-stations for some districts.

Headquarters organization

Historic Italian State Police "Panther" Alfa Romeo Giulia Super of the Flying Squad
Italian policemen on duty in Piazza di Spagna, Rome, in 2007.

Main Offices, Divisions and Specialties of the State Police (Uffici, Reparti e Specialità della Polizia di Stato):

  • State Police Band (Banda Musicale della Polizia di Stato)
  • Data processing and computer center (Centro Elaborazione Dati)
  • Interregional and Regional Collection Centers (Centri Raccolta Ragionale ed Interregionale)
  • Central Direction for the Anticrime Police (Direzione Centrale della Polizia Anticrimine)
  • Central Direction for the Instruction Institutes (Direzione Centrale per gli Istituti d'Istruzione)
  • General Inspectorate of Public Security for Civil Aviation and Ministry of Transportation (Ispettorato Generale di Pubblica Sicurezza preso il Ministero dei Trasporti e dell'Aviazione Civile)
  • General Inspectorate of Public Security for Ministry of the Economic Development (Ispettorato Generale di Pubblica Sicurezza preso il Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico)
  • General Inspectorate of Public Security for Ministry of Labor and the Social Politics (Ispettorato Generale di Pubblica Sicurezza presso il Ministero del Lavoro e delle Politiche Sociali)
  • General Inspectorate of Public Security for Palace of the Viminale (Ispettorato Generale di Pubblica Sicurezza presso il Palazzo del Viminale) The Viminale is the headquarters of the Italian Ministry of Interior;
  • General Inspectorate of Public Security for the Senate of the Republic (Ispettorato Generale di Pubblica Sicurezza presso il Senato della Repubblica)
  • General Inspectorate of Public Security for the Chamber of the Deputies (Ispettorato Generale di Pubblica Sicurezza presso la Camera dei Deputati)
  • General Inspectorate of Public Security for the Vatican City (Ispettorato Generale di Pubblica Sicurezza presso la Città del Vaticano)
  • General Inspectorate of Public Security for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (Ispettorato Generale di Pubblica Sicurezza presso la Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri)
  • General Inspectorate of Public Security for the Presidency of the Republic (Ispettorato Generale di Pubblica Sicurezza presso la Presidenza della Repubblica)
  • Central Operational Core of Security (Nucleo Operativo Centrale di Sicurezza - N.O.C.S.)
  • Gaming and Betting police (Polizia dei Giochi e delle Scommesse)
  • Alpine Aid (Soccorso Alpino)
  • Postal and Communications Police (Polizia Postale e delle Comunicazioni)
  • Immigration and Border Police (Polizia dell'Immigrazione e delle Frontiere)
  • Air Border Police (Polizia di Frontiera Aerea)
  • Maritime Police (Polizia Marittima)
  • Railway Police (Polizia Ferroviaria)
  • Scientific Police (Polizia Scientifica)
  • Highway Police (Polizia Stradale)
  • Mobile Units (Reparti Mobili)
  • Mounted Divisions (Reparti a cavallo)
  • Artificers Units (Unità Artificieri)
  • Canine Units (Unità Cinofili)
  • Superior School of Police (Scuola Superiore di Polizia)
  • Aerial Divisions (Reparti Volo)
  • Sanitary Service (Servizio Sanitario)
  • Gold Flames (Fiamme Oro)

Interregional organization

The Interregional Directorates (Direzioni Interregionali) are:

Polizia di Stato Lamborghini Gallardo

These last ones only since 2007.


There is a Questura in each of the 103 Italian provincial capitals. It is responsible for all the activities carried out by the Polizia di Stato within the Province.

Commissariati di Pubblica Sicurezza

In major cities and highly populated towns there are police stations named Commissariati di Pubblica Sicurezza (Public Security Offices). Each Commissariato di Pubblica Sicurezza is under the Authority of a Questura. Their task is to control, prevent and fight crime in their jurisdiction, and to deal with paperwork as to, among other things, requests for gun licences, passports, permits, and regularization of foreigners.

Polizia di Quartiere is the Quarter Police. Pairs of Poliziotti (Policemen) patrol areas of major cities on foot. They are equipped with palm computers and mobile phones to answer to citizens' requests in real time.

Special operations

About 24,000 officers, that is almost a quarter of police personnel, work within the Highway Patrol (Polizia Stradale), Railroad Police (Polizia Ferroviaria), Postal and Telecommunications Police (Polizia Postale e delle Telecomunicazioni) and Border and Immigration Police (Polizia di Frontiera).

Highway patrol

The Polizia Stradale, or PolStrada for short, is a highway patrol organization. PolStrada police the 7,000 kilometres (4,300 mi) of motorways (autostrada) in Italy, the main highways and arterial roads outside towns. Their duties are the prevention and detection of driving offences, car accident reports, planning and carrying out of services to regulate traffic, providing escorts for road safety, protection and control of the road network, rescue operations and cooperation in the collection of traffic flow data.

Railway Police

The Polizia Ferroviaria, or PolFer for short, ensure the security of travelers and their belongings on trains and at stations plus the safety and control of dangerous goods. Railroad Police officers patrol, in particular, long-distance and night trains, and at stations in big cities where vagrants often accumulate. Rete Ferroviaria Italiana and other Ferrovie dello Stato companies co-operate fully with the railroad police in dealing with railway security for passengers.

Post and telecommunications

The Polizia postale e delle comunicazioni, or Polizia Postale for short, investigates all crimes that use communications as part of its modus operandi such as computer hacking, online child pornography, credit card fraud, spreading computer viruses or software copyright violations.

Immigration and Border Police

To control the flow of migrants into Italy, the Department of Public Security set up the Immigration and Border Police Service (Polizia di Frontiera), to enforce regulations concerning the entry and stay of aliens in Italy. The service operates at both central and local level with many land, air and maritime border police offices.

The service is also responsible for passport control, the issuing of residence permits, as well as the prevention and control of illegal immigration. Although due to the Schengen Agreement the land borders have diasppeared, the division is still present on all borders to do systematic or random checks. In airports the border police are in charge of security (hand baggage searches are done by airport companies or private security companies but are supervised by the Polizia di Frontiera and by the Guardia di Finanza) and immigration checks.

Mobile units

There are 13 mobile units of "Reparto Mobile" located in the main Italian cities. These can be deployed throughout the country to maintain public order with crowd-control equipment and vehicles or perform rescue services in areas affected by natural disasters. These units employ personnel that are trained and equipped for their task.

The P.d.S.'s bomb disposal units, mounted detachments, canine units, air support squadrons and maritime and river police units all fall under the mobile unit HQ.

Anti Terrorism Police

Photo of Army Parade in Rome, 2 June 2006, Republic Day. NOCS special groups

The Anti Terrorism Police is a specialist body made up of the Central Directorate for the Anti Terrorism Police and of the Branches for General Investigations and Special Operations Division (DIGOS - Divisione Investigazioni Generali e Operazioni Speciali), located in the questure at the local level. The Directorate for the Anti Terrorism Police has two departments: one is mainly responsible for information collection and analysis while the other develops and coordinates investigations aimed at preventing and fighting terrorism. The Nucleo Operativo Centrale di Sicurezza (Central Operational Core of Security) is the State Police’s elite SWAT unit.


Recruit training is carried out at the police academy and at an advanced school for senior police officers. There are schools for basic training of cadet officers and technical operators, for teaching police specialties, for instructors, pilots, dog handlers and mounted police officers and the community police school.


The standard service pistol of the Polizia di Stato is the Beretta Model 92FS; other sidearms might be made available to the Police personnel according to necessities and assignments. In addition, a Beretta PM-12S sub-machine gun is issued to every squad car. Other firearms, such as the Beretta 70/90 assault weapons system, Heckler & Koch MP5 sub-machine guns and Benelli shotguns are in service with the corps and can either be issued to the general personnel according to particular necessities or to the specialties the officers are assigned to. A 40mm grenade launcher, the GL-40/90, manufactured by Luigi Franchi S.p.A. under license from Heckler & Koch of Germany is the standard issue weapon for riot control operations.[9]


Alfa Romeo 156 Polizia di Stato in Rome
Motorcyclists of the Polizia stradale in Rome

The State Police use Italian vehicles ranging from 1994 Fiat Puntos to the Alfa Romeo 159 2,4 JTD, and foreign makes such as the Subaru Legacy SW and Subaru Forester, BMW E46 and E91, and the Volvo XC70.

In May 2004 the PdS received two defibrillator. The cars are used on the A3 Salerno-Reggio Calabria and the A14 Bologna-Taranto motorways.[10]

New Alfa Romeo 159 Polizia di Stato in Rome
New Alfa Romeo 159 Polizia di Stato in Rome (other view)

On November 29, 2009, one of the two Gallardos was severely damaged in an accident while returning from a public display in

  • (Italian) Official website
  • (English) Official website

External links

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Incidente alla Lamborghini Gallardo della Polizia


See also

Rank Insignia Promotion notes
Assistente capo
(Chief Assistant)
Promotion to Assistente capo based on scrutiny and at least 5 years of service as an Assistente
Promotion to Assistente based on scrutiny and at least 5 years of service as an Agente scelto
Agente scelto
(Senior Officer)
Promotion to Agente scelto based on scrutiny and at least 5 years of service as an Agente
Only 1- and 4-year volunteers of the Italian Armed Forces are eligible to take part in the exam to become an Agente

Agenti and Assistenti role

Rank structure and insignia


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