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Italian Finance Police
Guardia di Finanza
CoA Guardia di Finanza.svg
Coat of arms of the Guardia di Finanza, depicting the Cimon della Pala
Motto Nec Recisa Recedit
Not Even Broken Retreats
Agency overview
Formed April 8, 1881
Employees 100,000+
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
National agency ITA
Governing body Italian Minister of Economy and Finance
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Rome
Sworn members 68,000+
Elected officer responsible Giulio Tremonti
Website
http://www.gdf.it/GdiF_in_English/index.html

The Guardia di Finanza (Italian pronunciation: [ˈɡwardja di fiˈnantsa]; meaning "Finance Guard") is an Italian police force under the authority of the Minister of Economy and Finance. As it retains military status, like the Carabinieri, it is part of the Italian Armed Forces. The Guardia di Finanza maintains over 600 boats and ships and more than 100 aircraft to fulfill its mission of patrolling Italy's territorial waters.

Contents

Roles

The mission and institutional tasks of Guardia di Finanza are stated in the law 189 of April 23, 1959 and 68/2001 and are subdivided into priority ones (preventing, investigating and reporting financial evasions and violations, overseeing the compliance with the provisions of politico-economic interest and surveillance at sea for financial police purposes) and contribution ones (maintaining public order and safety and politico-military defense of the borders).

The Guardia di Finanza has around 68,000 policeman (agents, NCOs, and officers). Her policemen are in service in the Europol and OLAF (European Agency of Fight against the Fraud). Its Latin motto since 1933 is Nec recisa recedit (Italian: Neanche spezzata retrocede, English: Does not retreat even if broken).

Its activities are financial, economic, judiciary and public safety: tax evasion, financial crimes, smuggling, money laundering, international illegal drug trafficking, illegal immigration, customs and borders checks, copyright violations, anti-Mafia operations, credit card fraud, cybercrime, counterfeiting, terrorist financing, maintaining public order, and safety, political and military defense of the Italian borders.

History

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"Customs Guards Corps"

Guardia di Finanza police in central Rome
Boats of the Guardia di Finanza

The origins of the Guardia di Finanza date back to October 5, 1774, when the “Light Troops Legion” was set up under the King of Sardinia, Victor Amadeus III. This was the first example in Italy of a special corps established and organized for financial surveillance duties along the borders, as well as for military defense.

Once the unification of Italy was completed in 1862, the "Customs Guards Corps" was set up. Its main task was Customs surveillance and co-participation in the Country’s defense during war time. By Law no. 141 dated April 8, 1881, the Customs Guards Corps became the "Royal Guardia di Finanza Corps" whose task was to "impede, suppress and report smuggling activities and any other violation and transgression of financial laws and regulations", and to safeguard the interests of the tax administration, as well as to co-participate in enforcing law and order and public security.

The 5-point star uniform

By Royal Decree dated July 14, 1907, the Corps was issued 5-point star uniforms to mark its military status, even though the Army’s military discipline regulation was extended to the Guardia di Finanza by Law dated July 12, 1908. The Corps served in the two World Wars and in the War of National Liberation, deserving 18 awards to its War Flag, which had been granted in 1914 to decree the total integration among the Italian Armed Forces.

Subsequently, the Corps took part in numerous rescue operations during serious natural disasters; for this commitment the Corps was decorated with 13 additional civil valor awards.

The re-organization of the police forces in 1919 also affected the Royal Guardia di Finanza. The responsibilities were divided between the Inspector General, who was an Army Officer with the rank of Lieutenant General responsible for military preparation, and the Commanding General, who was a Guardia di Finanza Officer subordinate to the former, but authorized to maintain direct relations with the Minister for ordinary institutional duties and for personnel management. In 1923, the "Investigative Tax Police" was set up as a specialized branch of the Royal Guardia di Finanza. Within a few years, its naval fleet, motor-vehicles and telecommunication structure underwent a complete change; the Statistical Service equipped with a data processing centre, the Air Service and the Canine Service (for anti-drugs checks) were set up. During the same years, the Corps’ general organization was defined pursuant to Law no. 189 dated April 23, 1959, which laid down its institutional tasks,subsequently amended by specific sector provisions assigning certain responsibilities.

Recent history

Besides the review of its organizational structure, laid out by the issuance of Presidential Decree Law no. 34 dated January 29, 1999, the updating of the Corps’ institutional tasks was completed. Law Decree no. 68, dated March 19, 2001, whilst confirming the Corps’ configuration as a military structure, enhanced its role as a police force having general competence on all economic, financial and judicial matters for the safeguard of the public budget and that of the regions, of the local authorities and of the European Union.

The Guardia di Finanza Historical Museum is custodian of the traditions of the Corps. It preserves artifacts of relevance to the Guardia di Finanza and promotes historical research, to aid researchers, scholars and military history enthusiasts.

Anti-drug operations

From the statistic data of the anti-drug service central Direction, of the Department of the Interior,the 60% of the drug seized in Italy by all the strengths of law enforcement is found by the Guardia di Finanza. In detail around 77% of the total one of the sequestrations of heroin, 69% of cocaine and 54% of hashish and marijuana in 2005.

The Chiasso financial smuggling case

On June 3, 2009 near Chiasso, Switzerland (near the Swiss/Italian border), officers of the Corps detained two Japanese nationals in their 50s who had attempted to enter Switzerland and had in their possession a suitcase with a false bottom containing U.S. Treasury Bonds worth $134.5 billion[1][2][3]. While assessment as to the authenticity of the bonds is on-going, if the bonds prove to be genuine, the Corps will have intervened in the largest single act of smuggling (with respect to financial value) in recorded history[4].

Special departments

  • Gruppo di Investigazione Criminalità Organizzata (GICO): Organized Crime Investigation Group.
  • Gruppo Operativo Antidroga (GOA): Counter-narcotics Group
  • Gruppo Anticrimine Tecnologico (GAT): Counter-cybercrime Group
  • Commando Operativo Aeronavale (ROAN): Air-Naval Operational Command
  • AntiTerrorismo Pronto Impiego (ATPI): Antiterrorism and Rapid Response Service
  • Servizio Cinofili: Police Dog Division (K9).

Vehicles and equipment

Cars

Helicopters

Aircraft

Ships

  • Patrol boat
  • Patrol vesser
  • Cutters

Weapons

References

External links


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