The Carabinieri – Italy’s Incorruptible Police Force
Who are the Carabinieri?
The Carabinieri is a military police force in Italy that is responsible for maintaining public order and safety. They were established in 1814 by King Victor Emmanuel I of Savoy to provide security for the kingdom, and they have since become one of the most respected law enforcement agencies in the world.
“Over the centuries faithful” – Motto of the Carabinieri
They are widely known for their honesty, diligence, and sense of duty. They are seen as the embodiment of Italian law enforcement. Criminals are terrified of them and everyday working class people adore them. Back in La Cosa Nostra’s heyday when police and politicians were happy to take bribes, the Carabinieri remained true to their cause – protecting the people.
Over their 200 year history the Carabinieri have taken down countless criminals. Perhaps the most notable of these was the Sicilian Mafia boss Salvatore Riina aka The Beast. He was apprehended in 1993 after being on the run for 23 years. Other notable criminals the Carabinieri have apprehended include the infamous Red Brigades, who were responsible for a wave of terrorist attacks in Italy in the 1970s, the notorious Camorra mafia, which operates in the Campania region of southern Italy, and most recently mafioso extraordinaire Matteo Messina Denaro.
Carabinieri vs Police
In Italy, becoming a carabinieri officer is significantly more difficult than becoming a police officer. The selection process for the carabinieri is extremely rigorous and demanding, with a high emphasis on physical fitness, mental toughness, and strong academic abilities. Candidates for the carabinieri must pass a series of competitive exams and evaluations, including a written test, a psychological exam, and an extensive background check. In contrast, becoming a police officer in Italy typically requires completing a high school diploma or equivalent, passing a written exam, and completing a training program that can last for up to one year. While the training and selection process for police officers in Italy is also demanding, it is generally considered to be less intense and competitive than that for the carabinieri.
Besides training there are several other differences between the Carabinieri and the Police. Since they were formed until 200o the Corp was a part of the Italian army.
The Carabinieri were originally a military unit with police duties and until 2000, the Corp was 100% a part of the Italian Army. They have remained an armed force, but they are now an autonomous structure. Despite these changes the Carabinieri still remains under the direct control of the Ministry of Defense. The police on the other hand, are a national police force controlled by the Government, and they respond directly to the Ministry of the Interior.
Carabinieri undergo intense physical and mental training to become qualified officers. The physical training includes fitness, self-defense, and firearms training, while the academic training covers a broad range of subjects such as criminal law, forensic science, and investigative techniques.
This training period can last up to four years, depending on the specific role the officer will undertake. For example, officers who will work in the forensic or investigative departments will require additional specialized training.
The Elite 5%
The acceptance rate for those applying to become carabinieri in Italy varies from year to year, depending on the number of available positions and the number of applicants. According to recent statistics, the acceptance rate for the 2020 selection process was about 5%, with over 200,000 applicants and only 10,000 positions available. The FBI has an acceptance rate of fewer than 20%.
In previous years, the acceptance rate has been higher, with approximately 15% of applicants being accepted in 2019. Overall though, the selection process is highly competitive with only the best of the best being accepted.