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Polizia frontiera interview

Cosima Bernardi, Deputy Commissioner of the Taranto Border Police

The services of the Maritime Border Police

My name is Cosima Bernardi, I am a Deputy Commissioner of the State Police and I have been in charge of the Border Police office at the sea port of Taranto since 3 January 1997, so I was conducting border operations almost at the same time as Italy joined the Schengen agreement.

The Border Police watch over the state’s borders, but since 26 October 1997 something changed: We became part of the Schengen countries.

To date, there are 26, and they do not correspond exactly to the European Union states.

The European Union, which, when it was established, set as one of its objectives freedom of movement for people.

But since this could not be accomplished within the European Union another deal was reached, the Schengen Agreement.

The Schengen agreement merely facilitates the free movement of people, both citizens and foreigners legally residing in the Schengen countries, and thus ensures that the borders within these states, i.e. the internal borders of the 26 current Schengen states, are removed.

Taranto is an external border, so all foreigners presenting themselves at the Taranto border crossing point must be checked, so here we control landings and embarkations, i.e. the entry and exit of foreigners from our state territory, which is then Schengen territory, i.e. the territory of 26 states, partly corresponding, partly corresponding because, for example, Switzerland is part of the Schengen countries but not part of the European Union, or if we consider that, conversely, Croatia is part of the European Union but not part of the Schengen countries.

The various types of controls

As far as cruise ships are concerned, if the ships come from a Schengen port, it is as if it were an internal border, so they are exempt from border controls, but this does not mean that there are not other types of controls.

Besides security checks, which are carried out primarily by security guards, the security firms that are equipped with x-ray equipment, with the police acting as supervisors, and who therefore intervene where the responsibility of the security guards ends.

Therefore, luggage, hand luggage and those boarding the ships are examined by x-ray machines.

Extensive security checks are carried out on all passengers.

And then right now there are covid checks, so there is a health check.

Firstly there is maritime health, but then we proceed with the self-certification checks.

The port is a small entity where we work in synergy

The port is a smaller entity than the town, and therefore the relationship with other agencies is closer and also allows you to get to know people and not just a name on paper or a voice on the phone, as well as getting to know people, what is also important, it gives you the chance to understand and address yourself.

It’s been 25 years and I’ve found it enjoyable, so I’ve felt I was supported by all this.


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