The RIC (Royal Italian Constabulary)

The carabinieri have served Italy for 200 years in a fashion similar to other gendarmeries. Indeed when one considers matters the similarities between it and the now defunct Royal Irish Constabulary are striking. Neither force attracts recruits from particularly prosperous backgrounds; service is seen as a way to improve ones lot in life. Policemen must not serve in their home district; for almost the first decade they are internal exiles! And the service has extremely rigorous rules concerning the matrimonial complications which men might undergo; wives were seen as an uneccessary distraction and could only be ‘taken on’ by the policeman when they had sufficient resources to support them!

But the similarities do not
end there. Indeed service in both the Italian and Irish forces was seen as respectable and character affirming, a way in which young men could distance themselves from violent anti-state actors and groups such as communists, organised crime and the fenians.

But the police were not without their critics, some claiming that they were heavy handed (both possessed quasi military attributes, the RIC being the sole non-military armed police force in the British Isles, the Carabinieri being a section of the Italian Armed Forces proper). On a lighter note, they also drew attention from caricaturists pens with the constables being portrayed with ridiculous moustaches (there was a conflicting series of regulations concerning their existence) and regularly appearing as dumbfounded brutish figures in periodicals like Punch.

About eamonntgardiner

I am a PhD Student at the National University of Ireland, Galway. I am conducting research into links between wartime traumatic-neurosis and evidence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder amongst British First World War veterans serving as Auxiliary Policemen in Ireland during the Anglo-Irish War 1919-1921. I have previously conducted research into local Irish Volunteer/Old IRA units in Munster as well as British responses to popular insurgencies in areas they administered. I have previously published a book on the British Counterinsurgency responses to the IV/IRA conflict in Ireland, 1919-1921, entitled 'Dublin Castle and the Anglo-Irish War: Counter Insurgency and Conflict.' I have also published papers on various aspects of that war and also on other insurgencies. I write a regular blog on those and other related matters, which can be read at My research interests include Feminism and De-Colonialisation/Post-Colonialism, Insurgency, Police and Military Histories, Institutional Histories. Subaltern Studies, International History of the 20th Century, Modern Irish History, Historiography, History of Conflict, Peace Keeping/Enforcement/Protectorates, Spheres of Influence, Hegemonic Theories, Old and New Terrorism.
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