Milan boosts, re-arms police force

24 new recruits, 1725 radios and 555 pistols for Milan.

Milan’s Polizia Locale – the police corps employed directly by the municipality, and known variously as Polizia Municipale or Vigili Urbani in different towns and cities – has taken on 21 constables and three officers from Lombardy’s regional force.

A further 30 including both constables and officers will be added to the force in the near future, announced city hall. If not enough staff request transfer to the city police from the regional force, an open competitive exam will be held to top up the number.

This brings the total number of staff in Milan’s Polizia Locale to just over 3,000, including 930 women. The middle level of command (commissario and vice-commissario) is made up of 159 men and 23 women, while the upper level (commissario capo) comprises 23 men and 11 women, commanded by two male chiefs.

Among the 24 assumptions this month are one female officer and five policewomen. These statistics were quoted on 8 March, International Women’s Day, by deputy mayor Francesca Balzani during the presentation of a book celebrating 40 years since the first woman, Clementina Guarnieri, joined the force in 1976.

Police chief Antonio Barbato extended particular thanks to the policewomen under his command, who “fought firmly for the Polizia Locale to find its own path to equal opportunities in a profession with very particular requirements.”

The first new postings will be with experienced partners in the city’s nine zone precincts to get a feel for their new duties: traffic, highway code, reporting emergencies and accidents, levying fines, relations with residents and cooperation with colleagues in other city agencies like AMSA, ATM and the metro lines.

At the same time, Milan’s city force has approved a budget of €1.2m to upgrade their communications equipment and weaponry. Some 1,700 new radios for the police cars and motorbikes will replace the 2007 models now showing signs of wear and tear.

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Another €300,000 has also been approved for purchasing 550 handguns. The semi-automatic 9x21s will complete the turnover of the force’s weaponry, finally rolling out all the older 7.65s no longer in line with updated security and efficiency demands, explained councillor Marco Granelli.

The cops’ holsters will be connected with a body-cam which will automatically start recording the scene if the handgun is extracted.