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The Carabinieri in Kabul

Kirkhill

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As the Brits launch their SFAB and ASOB to match the US Green Berets and Security Force Assistance Brigades, and Canada contemplates its Army and SOF structure and roles this article reminds me that other countries have other approaches and assets.

The Gendarmerie concept is one that the Anglosphere has intentionally rejected over the last 300 years. But it works for many of the Europeans, especially countries where gangs, militias and separatists make low grade warfare endemic.

One of the better known practioners of this Grey Zone Warfare is the Italian Carabinieri. Police and Soldiers.


Some 5,000 Afghans rescued, plus Italians and citizens of allied countries: a spectacular achievement by Italy during the evacuation from Hamid Karzai International Airport. To handle the extraordinarily complex and dangerous task, Rome had dispatched some of its very best soldiers and Carabinieri. Other countries can learn from Italy’s green-and-blue Carabinieri—a hybrid police-and-military force—because the world will see plenty more of these highly complex and dangerous situations short of war.
 

The Bread Guy

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Interesting concept ....

I don't know if forming another branch of MoD here would be as useful as asking slightly different questions.
  • While the Carabinieri have done it for real in hot zones, at sometimes great cost, what skills do the Carabinieri have that can't be taught our own troops?
  • Do we need to up-gun/armour our own mil police?
  • Do we need to be upgunning/armouring our RCMP to do the same? (Happy to hear from LEO's on this)?
  • What orders/rules of engagement do the Carabineri have that our troops don't?
  • What political direction did the Carabineri get that our troops didn't?
  • Even if Canada had paramilitary cops under DND command/control, would they have been unleashed as quickly and aggressively (or not) as military troops were?
I think more European countries are OK with cops working for the Minister of Defence because they've had very different histories, comfort & attitudes re: using military-ish forces as cops. In France, armed troops are/have been in the streets. In Italy, armed troops have been at airports.

Here? Not so much, outside of very specific and EXTRAordinary situations. U.S.? Posse comitatus & "troops don't cop".

Also, the main job of Carabinieri is federal policing - sorta like the Mounties here, but up-gunned/armoured & reporting the MoD. They can also do this given there's a TON of other police forces in Italy (local, traffic, treasury/finance, etc.) doing policing work short of that needing up-gunning/armouring.

Finally, notwithstanding how much better things COULD have been (lots), if we're going to compare overall results, grossly oversimplified stats would indicate a country of about 38 million getting 3700 out isn't bad compared to a country of 60.4 million getting ~5K out (edited to add new graph comparing very-gross apples-to-apples)
Screenshot 2021-09-04 140844.jpg
 
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FJAG

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I tend to agree with Bread Guy. We do already have a federal police force in the RCMP even though two-thirds of them are involved in provincial and municipal contract policing and only one third on actual federal policing duties.

If we need additional police capabilities for emergency situations of a para military nature we should turn to a more robust reserve military police organization. That said, not only is our Reg F military police understrength but the Res F military police is drastically understrength. - For that matter so is the RCMP which recently reported itself approximately 25% under strength and needing another 5,000 people.

It seems federal policing is not a big draw for our youngsters.

🍻
 

Booter

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There are 110 000 Carabinieri and about 23 000 mounties in uniform.

italy- 300 000 kms Canada- 10 000 000 kms.

I believe there may be more members of the Carabinieri at a time than real and staffed Canadian forces members.

you would be more likely to create a special MP unit to deal with the same. Nothing in that article seemed like they were doing anything especially unique but I have no real comparable experience.

the Carabinieri appear to make about half what the average Italian makes as well. I don’t think they are set up as a “career” like we see here.

some of the men in the article are on a 6th tour of the country. That’s not a Canadian experience as well- if we make these units we need to employ them, that’s a philosophical change for Canada. Not just the organizations.

if you make it a skill that just sits on the shelf it’s not going to maintain itself. Attrition, boredom, and the money will be stripped from them every year.
 
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The Bread Guy

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... We do already have a federal police force in the RCMP even though two-thirds of them are involved in provincial and municipal contract policing and only one third on actual federal policing duties ...
With full respect to the hard work Mounties do and the threats faced here, also remember the Carabinieri have been engaged in higher-tempo stuff in Italy for a long time like the old Red Brigades and various Mafia wars.

They're also the MP's for Italy's military, and started life as part of the army before becoming a separate branch of the armed forces, so the military culture's been there longer, too. Think of them as up-gunned/armoured military police.
 

FJAG

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With full respect to the hard work Mounties do and the threats faced here, also remember the Carabinieri have been engaged in higher-tempo stuff in Italy for a long time like the old Red Brigades and various Mafia wars.

They're also the MP's for Italy's military, and started life as part of the army before becoming a separate branch of the armed forces, so the military culture's been there longer, too. Think of them as up-gunned/armoured military police.
I actually quite like the Carabinieri (did you know they had a paratroop regiment?) as well as the Spanish Guardia Civil and the French Gendarmerie nationale (which I once had the pleasure of watching at work during an anarchist demonstration in Strasbourg). Very good forces for putting boots and all the right equipment on the ground when a situation is beyond the capability of the local municipal police forces.

I also quite like the RCMP (there's one in the family) but their federal role is limited and considering all the trouble they had just getting C8s deployed to their members I don't hold out much hope out for them being able to grow into a gendarmerie role.

🍻
 

PPCLI Guy

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I have worked with both Carabinieri and RCMP at the same time in a complex combat theatre. Suffice to say they do different things....for different reasons, but they are both impressive in their own right
 

RedFive

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I tend to agree with Bread Guy. We do already have a federal police force in the RCMP even though two-thirds of them are involved in provincial and municipal contract policing and only one third on actual federal policing duties.

If we need additional police capabilities for emergency situations of a para military nature we should turn to a more robust reserve military police organization. That said, not only is our Reg F military police understrength but the Res F military police is drastically understrength. - For that matter so is the RCMP which recently reported itself approximately 25% under strength and needing another 5,000 people.

It seems federal policing is not a big draw for our youngsters.

🍻

I'll throw in on this briefly.

There aren't many Mounties I know of who wouldn't leap at the opportunity to work for the Federal side of the RCMP. There's money for training, there's money for overtime, there's money for kit, and there's an unending supply of interesting work to do that doesn't involve mental health, domestic violence, sexual assault or needy complainants who don't understand what the Police are actually able to do and not do, as the case may be.

Most municipal Detachments are choked by understaffing, soft vacancies, poor to egregiously bad management, and underfunding. Municipal politics often causes even more issues as can be seen currently in Surrey. Add to that the current anti-Police narrative coming from every direction including Federal politicians in Ottawa and there's little to sell a posting in a contract Detachment to a member. I'm currently in a municipal contract position, and have the exceedingly rare privilege of doing regular OT with a Federal Serious and Organized Crime unit.

I'll also say, categorically, the RCMP would be hard pressed to put together a unit of actual paramilitary cops the likes of which we're discussing here. You could probably find enough former CAF members, ERT members and the like and put something temporary together, but the number of members who get out of operational policing at the first opportunity and never return is astounding. The way the staffing and promotion system in the RCMP works, you would see a unit such as that rapidly fill with those members who are the best at pumping their own tires in claiming competencies on their CV to get off the road and the hard working, tactically inclined, best candidates would likely be left where they can most commonly be found, carrying more than their weight on "the road". And don't get me started on how many useless members we are forced to tolerate within operational policing because there's nowhere else to hide them.

I've gone into more detail in the RCMP forums about the current problems in the force, of which there are many. In summary, and in my opinion, the RCMP is not capable of sustaining its current commitments and needs to withdraw from contract Policing at least partially if not entirely. Time to let the folks making the decisions to limit the capabilities of the RCMP at a municipal or provincial level face the music when their mismanagement comes home to roost (a la Portapique and the NS RCMP being woefully unprepared to deal with that situation).
 

The Bread Guy

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I also quite like the RCMP (there's one in the family) but their federal role is limited and considering all the trouble they had just getting C8s deployed to their members I don't hold out much hope out for them being able to grow into a gendarmerie role.
That, alone, speaks to how Canadian culture/precedent is more toward keeping cops more cop-y than military.
I have worked with both Carabinieri and RCMP at the same time in a complex combat theatre. Suffice to say they do different things....for different reasons, but they are both impressive in their own right
Thanks for the eyes-on assessment ...
I'll throw in on this briefly.

There aren't many Mounties I know of who wouldn't leap at the opportunity to work for the Federal side of the RCMP. There's money for training, there's money for overtime, there's money for kit, and there's an unending supply of interesting work to do that doesn't involve mental health, domestic violence, sexual assault or needy complainants who don't understand what the Police are actually able to do and not do, as the case may be.

Most municipal Detachments are choked by understaffing, soft vacancies, poor to egregiously bad management, and underfunding. Municipal politics often causes even more issues as can be seen currently in Surrey. Add to that the current anti-Police narrative coming from every direction including Federal politicians in Ottawa and there's little to sell a posting in a contract Detachment to a member. I'm currently in a municipal contract position, and have the exceedingly rare privilege of doing regular OT with a Federal Serious and Organized Crime unit.

I'll also say, categorically, the RCMP would be hard pressed to put together a unit of actual paramilitary cops the likes of which we're discussing here. You could probably find enough former CAF members, ERT members and the like and put something temporary together, but the number of members who get out of operational policing at the first opportunity and never return is astounding. The way the staffing and promotion system in the RCMP works, you would see a unit such as that rapidly fill with those members who are the best at pumping their own tires in claiming competencies on their CV to get off the road and the hard working, tactically inclined, best candidates would likely be left where they can most commonly be found, carrying more than their weight on "the road". And don't get me started on how many useless members we are forced to tolerate within operational policing because there's nowhere else to hide them.

I've gone into more detail in the RCMP forums about the current problems in the force, of which there are many. In summary, and in my opinion, the RCMP is not capable of sustaining its current commitments and needs to withdraw from contract Policing at least partially if not entirely. Time to let the folks making the decisions to limit the capabilities of the RCMP at a municipal or provincial level face the music when their mismanagement comes home to roost (a la Portapique and the NS RCMP being woefully unprepared to deal with that situation).
Thanks for the granular take there.
 
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