Once again, G-8 members have supported the Italian initiative to establish this new project utilizing the international training facility already existing in Vicenza to serve as the Centre of Excellence for Stability Police Units providing training to increase the skills of officers who will then return to their countries to develop gendarme-type forces ready to be deployed in PSO on behalf of the international or regional organizations. Over the last five years CoESPU committed itself to train 3500 Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers.
During the last fifteen years, the Carabinieri, as a 'military force, by the law permanently assigned to civilian policing duties', has gained significant experience in PSO. The Carabinieri have provided doctrine, training and leadership for the MSUs deployed in Bosnia and Kosovo.
The MSU concept originated in the Balkan theatre, where it became clear that countries emerging from crisis needed a special robust police to fill the security gap between military forces and civilian police. This force facilitates the handover to a civilian led stabilized society. Since its first deployment in 1998, the MSU has been overwhelmingly accepted as a crucial player in the stabilization process.
Experience has shown that these Carabinieri/Gendarmerie-like forces can relieve some of the military units' heavy burdens and establish an environment in which civilian police can operate effectively, solve 'day to day' problems and return the situation within the rule of law. Several different types of robust police frameworks exist: the EU's model is the Integrated Police Units (IPU); the UN has the Formed Police Unit (FPU).
Generally speaking, Stability Police Units (SPU) are both flexible and adaptable, operating in a context where military and civilian tasks overlap during the post-crisis phase of a country's stabilization. Due to their hybrid nature, SPUs may be put under both military and civilian chain of command.
Their ability to adapt to the mission changes and requirements produced by the gradual stabilization of an area makes SPUs ideal instruments for peacekeeping missions in which longer-term stabilization and reconstruction are the goals.