Italy’s controversial plan to allow citizens’ patrols to back up the police has comes into effect.
City mayors will decide if their municipalities need the patrols or not and they will be operating under strict rules. Despite all the promised safeguards, not everyone is happy. “Sincerely I’m a little scared because of these patrols. We already have soldiers, policemen and I think it’s quite enough,” said one young woman. “I think we should find another kind of solution, but patrols might be good too… because faced with the violence that we see in our society citizens want to be protected,” said a man of African origin. They will be unarmed, with no uniforms, and no powers of arrest, and limited to patrols of three or fewer. “It’s just prevention, we are not patrols neither violent guys. On our t-shirts you can read solidarity and security,” said one of the first volunteers. All members must not have a criminal record, or be members of any political party. They will also receive extensive training, but some fear the patrols will be infiltrated by criminals and extremists and provoke a rise in racial discrimination and violence.