Italian police in Milan and Rome are currently being flanked by several police officers from the People’s Republic of China, as an “experiment” in cooperative law enforcement.
In this first trial run, the agents of the Chinese Police will remain in Italy only a month. During the first days of their effort the Chinese have accompanied officers from the State Police in the two metropolitan areas where there is a strong concentration of the Chinese community, namely Milan and Rome.
During the second half of the month, the Chinese officers are accompanying members of the local Police force.
This year has seen record numbers of Chinese tourists visiting the Italian republic.
According to Italy’s Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, the project “strengthens the bond between the two countries and is the first of its kind that China undertakes with a European country.”
The project aims to “increase the sense of safety of Chinese tourists who come here,” said Alfano, who hopes that in the future, they will be able to “extend the patrol to other cities.”
As a trial run, Italian authorities are projecting further cooperation with Chinese law enforcement in the future, as well as greater information sharing.
It is hoped that the effort will open “an important collaboration between the two countries for information exchange in the fight against terrorism and organized crime,” said Alessandro Pansa, the newly appointed head of Italy’s Department of Information and Security.
Before arriving in Italy, the Chinese police took an intensive training course in Beijing under the direction of the Italian State Police. The initiative has been coordinated by the international police cooperation Service (SCIP) of the central Directorate of criminal police, who handled the whole preparatory phase.
On duty, the Chinese police officers are wearing the uniforms of their home country to be easily recognizable by their fellow countrymen. Their task is to assist their Italian colleagues in institutional activities and to facilitate the exchange of information especially concerning the presence of Chinese tourists.
The current cooperation implements an agreement signed in the Hague last September 24 between the Italy’s Interior Ministry and China’s Ministry of Public Security, which outlined the nature of the cooperation, based on the joint use of agents of the State police and the Carabinieri military with Chinese officers.
The joint patrols are also intended to facilitate contacts between local authorities and the Chinese diplomatic missions.
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