Counter-terrorism in Italy: prevention and control over the territory

Following the former General Director of Department of Information for the Security, Giampiero Massolo,”we learned a severest lesson during the years of our terrorism”. “We had gathered experience – he says – on how critical it is maintaining a regular dialogue, at operational level, between the intelligence and the police forces. The key word of effective counter-terrorism policies is the prevention and control over the territory. From this point of view – he clarifies – monitoring is facilitated by the absence of places comparable to the French “banlieue” and by the fact that Italian cities are medium-to -small- sized”. According to ISPI (Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale), as there are few Italians of second or third generation vulnerable to ISIS’ propaganda, Italian authorities could focus on non-Italian citizens which can be expelled as soon as any suspicion arises (see infographic). Italian authorities rely as well on wire tappings which, unlike what happens in the UK, can be used as evidence in court and authorised on the basis of suspicious activities, thus not only  when there are serious grounds of suspicion or wire tapping is absolutely essential for continuing the investigation.

Furthermore, those suspected of having ties to jihadists are encouraged to dissociate themselves and cooperate with authorities. In return, they are granted with residence permits and other incentives.

Police authorities can hold a suspected of terrorism without charge up to four days, as for any other suspected.

In Italy, the extensive use of surveillance, including wire tappings, is deemed as the reasonable mean for monitoring suspected of terrorism, or organised crime, by contrary to what happens in US and UK, where data collecting is largely used.

Source: S. Kirchgaessner, L.Tondo, Perchè il terrorismo non ha ancora colpito l’Italia, The Guardian, UK – Published on Internazionale n. 1211, 30 giugno 2017.