Training and Cohesion within police forces as an apt response to new Security challenges

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30 April 2012

“I have always regarded training as an indispensable strategic tool for encouraging the cultural awareness necessary for handling change”. These were the prefatory remarks of the address given by Italian Interior Minister Annamaria Cancellieri at the opening ceremony of the Academic Year 2011-12 at the Scuola di perfezionamento per le Forze di Polizia (SFP), the Italian Interagency Law-Enforcement College of Advanced Studies.

The Minister’s address followed the opening remarks given by the Director of the SFP, Carabinieri General Vincenzo Giuliani. Also present at the ceremony were Mr Carlo De Stefano, under-secretary at the Ministry of the Interior, Mr Giuseppe Procaccini, chief of staff to the Interior Minister and Mr Antonio Manganelli, Italy’s Chief of Police. Guest speakers included prof. Giorgio Spangher, professor at the ‘La Sapienza’ University in Rome as well as a non-judge member of the Consiglio superiore della magistratura, Italy’s judiciary self-governance body.

“The expertise of each law-enforcement officer”, the minister told the SFP’s Advanced Training Course attendees, “represents a huge investment for the whole country, which entrusts you with carrying out a project aimed at ensuring security, legality and welfare for the entire community”. According to Ms Cancellieri, sharing experience and expertise at an operational level and, better still, during training, is necessary to respond to “the new challenges posed by modernisation, innovation and unfamiliar situations arising worldwide”. There is also a need for “greater unity among police forces as a whole”, said the minister, “in order to better serve the country, as it goes through a delicate phase when security and social cohesion emerge as major issues against a backdrop of social uncertainty”.

The minister also stressed “the growing transnational dimension of crime, mafia groups and illegal immigration rings”. The threat posed by organised criminals knows no border. Hence it requires, she said, “an international response based on a cohesive approach” both domestically and among police forces from different countries.

“Italy’s security apparatus is a paradigm of excellence in the international arena”, said Ms Cancellieri, “as witnessed by the fact that the expertise of our officers is made available to other countries by sharing our training schemes and through direct training provision on specific issues, for which unanimous acknowledgement and recognition is received”. “The quality of our response, in terms of effective security policies”, she continued, “is bound to significantly affect the public perception of safety. It will also be a measure of our Government’s ability to accomplish its mission, at different institutional levels. This is why”, she added, “we must all strive to put in place a security apparatus that helps generate cohesion. Without solidarity and social cohesion, no liberty is safe”. Therefore, she concluded, “the value of safety and security, to which each and every member of the public is entitled, must be acknowledged and preserved”, so as to lay the ground for the citizens to “effectively exercise” their rights.

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