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Explaining major shifts in policing, an international perspective, Grenoble : France (2007)
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Local security policies in Italy: new key institutional players, transformation of policing and professionalization of municipal forces
Séverine Germain1, Cristian Poletti2

This joint paper, which deals with policing in Italy, chiefly aims at describing the main evolutions which have occurred in the field of security over the last fifteen years. During the last decade, a new institutional process took place: beside the State law enforcement agencies, other players started claiming to have their duties acknowledged. Indeed, local governments -i.e. municipalities- and regions have played a growing role in the co-production of security, especially in Emilia-Romagna, where new inter-agency partnerships have been experimented on localities' initiative since the mid-nineties.
The growing involvement of localities in the co-production of security has been explained by the growing claim for safety expressed by the local populations (the “citizens' committee” phenomenon) and the crisis of the traditional political parties which were used to channelling social demands towards the State. This dynamic has given an impetus to a reflection on the police duties. The watchword of “proximity” has entered the police institutions as an answer to this new crisis of legitimacy. The main idea was to strengthen the relations between the (national and local) police forces and the local populations by promoting rooted police agents among them. So, both local and national police forces have started an identity transition based on principles borrowed from the community policing philosophy.
This paper will be basically divided into two parts. The first one will tackle the new institutional organization of policing in Italy, and more precisely the combination of dynamics which generated the growing involvement of localities in the field of security. In particular, the case study of Emilia-Romagna will be examined, since the Region appeared as a pioneer in the nineties by promoting local (regional and municipal) security policies and inter-agency partnerships. The second part will deal with the impact of these evolutions upon local and national police forces' practices and identities. It will be pointed out that there are some convergences in the evolving practices of both police forces, but also that these dynamics have a quite different impact on their own professional identity.
1 :  PACTE - Politiques publiques, ACtion politique, TErritoires
2 :  CEVIPOF - Centre de Recherches Politiques de Sciences Po
security – police – France – Italy