UNODC project TD/RER/H22 together with the Italian Police Liaison officer based in Tashkent organized a mission of Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC staff) to Italy to meet with the Italian Police, Financial Guard and Carabineri. The mission aimed to develop cooperation mechanisms between CARICC and Italian counterparts, agree on secure information exchange channels, discuss perspectives on placing for an Italian Liaison officer in CARICC and involve Italian counterparts in CARICC operations/activities such as the Northern Black Sea trafficking route, West African drug couriers and others. The mission was also an opportunity to study the best practices of Italian authorities in building interagency cooperation, especially in augmenting national capacities for intelligence analysis.
Italy is one of the CARICC project's major donors and has had observer status at CARICC since 2009. In late 2008, as a result of UNODC efforts, CARICC signed a Cooperation Protocol with the Central Directorate on Drug Control Service of Italy.
On the mission, meetings were organized with the Central Directorates of the Drug Control Service and Combating Mafia Type Structures, the state police of Rome, the Central Operational Service, the Central Criminal Department of Police, the Carabinieri Department for Rome, the Special Operational unit of the Carabinieri for the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport and the Maritime Department of the Guardia di Finanza in Civitavecchia. Discussions were held on information collection, analysis and training, international cooperation and joint operations including controlled deliveries.
The capacities of Italian law enforcement agencies in building interagency cooperation were thoroughly studied. For example, while the Drug Control Service is physically located in the Ministry of the Interior their staff is comprised of representatives of all the major law enforcement entities of Italy including the State Police, Guardia di Finanza and Carabinieri. These directorates have centralized databases which combine information from all agencies involved thereby realizing the concept of a centralized national database. All entities have operational and strategic analytical units.
Italian laws provide for a wide range of investigative methods, such as undercover operations, infiltration via informant, suspended arrest and seizure, wiretapping, controlled deliveries and organizing shell (fake) companies. These methods ensure in-depth investigation aimed not only at interdicting drugs and arresting traffickers but also at disrupting criminal organizations. Significant results have been achieved. For example, Italian law enforcement agencies have been able to seize criminal organization assets worth five billion Euros. These methods should be studied for possible implementation in the CARICC region.
The Italian side is also willing to provide experts for the training of CARICC staff, especially in intelligence analysis and operational coordination. During the mission two intelligence analysts from CARICC were trained in the intelligence analysis unit of the Central Directorate of the Drug Control Service.
Overall, the meetings demonstrated the capacities of Italian law enforcement agencies and their willingness to cooperate with CARICC and its member states.
Finally, the Italian side was informed that office space for an Italian liaison officer has been allocated in CARICC. This will ensure a presence for Italian Law Enforcement in CARICC and will significantly foster further cooperation between Italy and CARICC.