Italy has a fairly strong domestic safety and security industry with a reputation for high quality products. Italian production is well distributed across the various security equipment product lines. The industry is comprised of a sizable number of small and mid-sized locally based concerns.
The safety industry saw an overall increase in market sales of three percent in 2007 due mainly to a concerted effort by the national association ANIMA (Italian Federation of Mechanical and Engineering Industries) and the public administration to promote awareness of worker safety requirements and an overall “safety culture” that resulted in more strict controls in work environments, particularly in response to an increase in the number of on-the-job injuries and deaths. ANIMA established a “Safety Network” in 2008 to act as a single reference point for addressing the various safety issues ranging from firefighting, individual protection, security of machinery, noise reduction and road traffic signs.
Not only has overall demand increased, but the trend in demand is for higher quality products and services. More and more frequently partnerships are being established between the private and public sectors (research centers) with the aim of developing innovative products specifically in the personal protective equipment (PPE) segment.
Sales in the security and building automation industries picked up in 2007, with internal demand increasing by 5.7 percent in 2007, and continuing to grow in 2008 by 7.9 percent. The fire safety equipment segment registered overall growth of 4.9 percent. Within the anti-intrusion segment, the area that continues to show the most activity and growth is CCTV equipment. Other areas within this segment saw moderate growth. Forecasts for 2009 indicate moderate growth despite the worldwide economic crisis.
Demand for security continues to be significant and remains a primary area of focus for the Italian Government. The 2008 national budget contained an additional 200 million Euros compared to the previous year for security related expenditures, including funding to expand the police force, and 100 million Euros for modernization of vehicles, infrastructure and technology. Regulations introduced under the 2009 Budget Law provide for an increase of these funds to 565 million Euros. The Government’s goal is to provide local administrations with the necessary tools in order have more control of their respective territories, thus delocalizing control. A reform of local police forces should be introduced in the near future to allow for even closer control.
In 2007, in an effort to minimize crime and improve the quality of life in Italy, a program was established for the development of “security pacts” (“Patti per la Sicurezza”) in Rome and Milan between national and local authorities. Many other pacts were signed subsequently in other cities. This has become the answer to insufficient funding available to the Ministry of the Interior to combat crime, and the objective is to increase funding available through the participation of regional and municipal authorities. Resources from the municipal authorities and additional contributions on behalf of the provinces are gathered to create a special “security fund” that is transferred to the Ministry of the Interior and managed by the Prefecture. Funds are utilized by the National Security Council particularly to increase the number of officers of several law enforcement agencies.
The European Union (EU) has introduced new legislation in order to improve safety and security standards. Through Directive 2008/1104/EC on the identification and designation of European critical infrastructures and the assessment of the need to improve their protection, adopted on Dec. 8, 2008, the EU now emphasizes the need for greater attention to infrastructure security. The Directive must be implemented by Member States by Jan. 12, 2011.
In the Western Mediterranean region, Italy is one of the countries under the most pressure from illegal immigration. Italy's right-wing government has made cracking down on illegal immigration a top priority, and the Minister of Interior recently announced that Italy will send back illegal immigrants who arrive on its shores. To combat a growing wave of illegal immigrants, Italy is seeking bilateral agreements with countries where the immigrants are coming from in order to devise a common Mediterranean plan shared and supported by EU institutions such as Frontex (EU border agency). On January 13, 2009, the Italian Minister of Interior, together with the equivalent officials in Cyprus, Greece and Malta, met in order to devise a common policy. Italy has also signed a treaty of friendship and collaboration with the Libyan Government. This cooperation includes joint surveillance of Libyan territorial waters in order to fight clandestine immigration. The Minister of Interior also announced a meeting with G8 counterparts on illegal immigration at the end of May in Lampedusa, where most migrants from Northern Africa arrive.
In Italy and across Europe, emphasis has been placed on homeland security, transportation and critical infrastructure protection. Key areas of interest will include nuclear power plants, energy facilities, defense installations and other high-risk facilities. New opportunities should continue to arise in the aviation, maritime, supply chain and rail security areas as a result of security measures mandated by regulatory bodies. The air transportation sector and maritime industry in particular should continue to perform upgrades in order to fulfill ICAO mandates regarding security standards.
Equipment with the greatest sales potential includes airport passenger and baggage screening equipment, cargo/container scanning equipment, access control systems including biometric identification systems and CCTV systems, perimeter protection systems, fire-fighting equipment and systems, personal protection equipment, antiintrusion systems, burglar alarms, and automated home protection solutions.
The access control sector represents one of the most promising areas in both the public and private sectors and comprises 40 percent of the security market. Many government organizations and private sector firms are enhancing their facility security by implementing access control measures. The best selling products are centralized (online) access control systems, and the identification technology that is mostly requested is Radio Frequency (RFID). Demand for biometric technology should see an increase within the next several years. In 2004, the Italian Government created a working group to establish guidelines for the use of biometric technologies in the public sector, and a competence center was also established to assist public administrations in the biometric area. The use of biometric technology to reinforce security can be seen in international programs such as e-Passport and other border control initiatives that call for the use of biometric technologies and inclusion of biometric identifiers in travel documents. The European Parliament has recently backed proposals to set up the European Visa Information System (VIS), which is destined to become the world's largest biometric database. The European Border Fund, providing for an estimated €1.8 billion for the period 2007-2013, will assist Member States to invest in new equipment and systems for border management. With regard to Italy, programs are in the works including the electronic identity card (Carta d’Identità Elettronica - CIE) and the electronic residence permit (Permesso di Soggiorno Elettronico – PSE). In terms of physical and logical security within the public administration, increased investment may be expected in biometric technologies to enhance facility security measures and to control access to critical information applications and sensitive data.
Port and maritime security is a national priority, and port authorities continue to install and upgrade equipment throughout the country. Opportunities should continue to exist in major airports that will perform needed upgrades. EU maritime policy is placing much attention on several areas including safety and security, and Italian ports will be expected to respect these.
Increased awareness of worker safety requirements needed to diminish the number of on-the-job injuries and work-related deaths may present opportunities in the safety sector for personal protection equipment.
The U.S. market position in the sector has improved and has further potential to increase as Italian security consumers consider the U.S. security equipment industry to be a world leader in the global marketplace. U.S. security technology is considered advanced and sophisticated. Security products with new, innovative and sophisticated features are in demand, but must be supported by strong after-sales service. The presence of a nationwide service organization that can guarantee installation and maintenance will prove a definite advantage, especially because customers generally will require training, support and maintenance.
To fight terrorism more effectively and enhance protection for citizens, the EU has established the program "Prevention, Preparedness and Consequence Management of Terrorism and other Security Risks". The program adopted by the Council of the European Union on February 12, 2007 covers the period 2007-2013 with a budget amounting to approximately 140 million Euros. It offers a comprehensive framework and contributes to the development of the European Program for Critical Infrastructure Protection (EPCIP) as well as policy measures aimed at guaranteeing security and public order during a crisis situation. The general objective of the program is to support Member States' efforts to prevent, prepare for, and to protect people and critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks and other security related incidents. Furthermore, the program is intended to contribute to ensuring protection in the areas such as the crisis management, environment, public health, transport, research and technological development and economic and social cohesion, in the field of terrorism and other security and safety related risks within the area of freedom, security and justice.
In order to implement this Program, on September 24, 2008, the European Commission adopted the “2009 Annual Work Program” that will award grants to transnational and/or national projects that contribute to the development of EPCIP as well as policy measures aiming at upholding, and/or guaranteeing security and public order during a crisis situation. On the basis of the Call for Proposals, 2009 co-financed projects can count on a huge budget equal to € 14.200.000. Critical infrastructures should also continue to receive national funding to support necessary improvements. Italy lags behind in this area and needs to step up its efforts to comply with a new EU directive regarding EPCIP above mentioned.