In today's Guardian:
It could be just a means of boosting the police force but the examples and
Silvio Berlusconi's cabinet yesterday issued an emergency decree allowing mayors to enrol citizen patrols to combat crime following an outcry over a number of rapes blamed on immigrants.
The measure was already contained in a security bill working its way through the Italian parliament, but the prime minister said the decree would allow the government to quickly respond to "the huge clamour raised by recent episodes".
Local officials will oversee unarmed volunteer citizen patrols tasked with alerting police to criminal behaviour.
Six police unions warned in a statement that the decree could encourage vigilante behaviour. But the interior minister, Roberto Maroni, argued that it was designed to cut back on such vigilante behaviour, not encourage it.
Assailants beat up Romanians in Rome after a girl aged 14 was raped on February 14, and immigrants were also attacked after four men raped a woman in Guidonia, south of Rome.
the huge clamour raised by recent episodesgive the lie to that