23.02.2006 First deliveries of the Alfa Romeo 159 are being made to the Polizia di Stato (Italian State Police) and the Arma dei Carabinieri (paramilitary Police Force)

First deliveries of the Alfa Romeo 159 are being made to the Polizia di Stato (Italian State Police) and the Arma dei Carabinieri (paramilitary Police Force). The new Alfa Romeo has been chosen to replace the aging but successful fleets of Fiat Marea’s and Alfa 156’s. A first contract will see the supply of two hundred Alfa Romeo 159’s destined for the Polizia, and 61 for the Carabinieri. Each of these examples will feature a bullet-proof windscreen, tinted rear windows, satellite navigation system, onboard computer and other avant-garde equipment. The cost of each car, pre-prepared along with the unique paint schemes, is 47,000 euros. Each car has an intended lifespan of 6 years or 180.000 km.

The historical wealth of Italian cars used by the Italian police corps, the most famous of them being the Alfa Romeo Giulia, have resulted in nicknames which are still commonly used today. A patrol car belonging to the Polizia is nicknamed “Pantera” (Panther), one used by the Carabinieri is nicknamed “Gazzella” (Gazelle) and every other unmarked car is delightfully referred to as an Owl.


The foundation of the Italian Police dates back to 1852 when the Corps of the Public Security Guards was established in the Kingdom of Sardinia. The Corps was directly headed by the Turin and Genoa Public Security Authorities, that in this way availed themselves of a police force of their own for the maintenance of public order and security. With the Unity of Italy the Corps organization was extended to all pre-unity former States. The only exception was represented by Sicily where the Mounted Militiamen Corps, set up by Garibaldi, continued to operate until 1877 when it was dissolved and the Corps of the Public Security Mounted Guards for the Sicilian provinces was established. In 1890 the Corps was named “City Guards” on the basis of an act according to which the previous organization was not changed but only adjusted to the new needs deriving from the adoption in the Kingdom of the new Penal Code and, for the first time in the Italian system, of the Consolidating Act of the Public Security Laws, both in 1889.

In addition to the reorganization of the Criminal Police Service, in 1902 the City Guards set up the Forensic Science Police Service and carried out Administrative Police and public rescue activities. On the occasion of the City Guards’ intervention during the Messina and Avezzano earthquakes (in 1905 and 1915, respectively) they received two golden medals for merit. During World War I the City Guards gave a significant contribution both sending their men to the front and operating as a territorial force.


As well as using rapid Alfa Romeo models in the pursuit of criminals, the Italian Police are famous for operating high performance sportscars including a Ferrari 250 GT/E in the early 1960s, and the Lamborghini Gallardo today. Other transportation includes the Fiat Marea, Smart FourTwo and Segway HT (Human Transporter).


First deliveries of the Alfa Romeo 159 are being made to the Polizia di Stato (Italian State Police) and the Arma dei Carabinieri (paramilitary Police Force).


The many branches of the Italian Polizia di Stato have a very long historical tradition of using Alfa Romeo models in their fight against crime, the most famous of them undoubtedly being the Giulia sedan series.

In 1919 the Corps was reorganized and named “Corps of the Public Security Royal Guards”. It acquired military status and was characterized by the creation of the rank of the Officials and by a Unified Command. In parallel, only with regard to the crime prevention and suppression functions, the Investigative Agents Corps was set up within the Ministry of the Interior and placed directly under the Public Security Authorities (Prefects – Deputy Prefects – Questori – Officials).

As soon as Mussolini took government office he dismantled the Corps of the Public Security Royal Guards and the Investigative Agents Corps, by Royal Decree of December 31, 1922, with a view to unifying the Police Forces. The personnel partly merged with the newly set up “Royal Carabinieri Specialized Unit for inquire, technical investigations and surveillance services”.

The personnel assigned to the above-mentioned unit was trained in Rome at the ad hoc set up Police Technical School. During the Fascism consolidation phase the Public Security Authority had no longer a direct control on the Police Corps. The latter was, in fact, characterized by a civil system and by a personnel training thanks to which the Corps became particularly responsive to the community needs. In this period the Voluntary Militia for the National Security was reorganized and assigned police functions.

The Nation felt the lack of an Institution having prevention tasks. In 1925, the Government re-established an ad hoc Public Security Corps which was named “Corps of Public Security Agents”, having a civil status but a military organization. Personnel, means, materials and logistic structures which had belonged to the Royal Guards were taken over by the Corps: the total number of personnel units amounted to 12,000 men. The decree establishing the Corps also dismantled the Rome Local Policemen and their competence in the field of urban police, road traffic, building, health and trade was given to a “Police Special Division for the Capital”.

In 1937, the “Police of the Italian Africa” (P.A.I.) were set up in order to carry out Police duties in the African regions of the Empire. They were made up of carefully selected personnel that was trained at the Tivoli (Rome) School and by the Askaris. The P.A.I., that for years had been the pride of the Police Armed Forces, distinguished themselves in the African land but also in the defense of Rome from the German invasion following September 8, 1943. Here, the “Luigi Amedeo di Savoia” Battalion heroically resisted the superiority of the enemy, obtaining many decorations for military bravery.

The Corps of the Public Security Agents participated in the war operations and, with the Motorcyclist Batallion at the Greek – Albanian front, their flag was bestowed a bronze medal for military bravery. In 1943, the Badoglio Decree envisaged the Corps of the Public Security Agents’ incorporation into the State Armed Forces. The personnel supported the Allied Forces and the “Resistance” obtaining various individual testimonials of merit and thanks to the “Fiume Mobilized Batallion” their flag was bestowed a bronze medal for military bravery. By Viceregal Decree of 1944 the Public Security Agents were named “Corps of the Public Security Guards”, while keeping the previous military organization. In 1945 the P.A.I. personnel was incorporated into the Corps.

In the postwar period the Corps was reorganized and strengthened with men and means. The “Celere” and Mobile Units, the Specialties -Traffic, Railway and Border (sea, air and land) Police - were also set up. In 1959, the Female Police Corps was established with the limited task of investigating and suppressing crimes in the field of public morality, decency and minors. In 1968 the Emergency Public Service “113” was set up and soon after the Patrolling Units (“Volanti”) were established within each Questura. The Corps organization and status remained unchanged until the Reform Act No. 121 of April 1, 1981 which created the current State Police. All members of the Corps of the Public Security Guards, the P.S. Officials and the Female Police Corps merged into the mentioned body.

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History & Photos: Polizia di Stato / © 2006 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed