Nucleo Operativo Centrale di Sicurezza

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Nucleo Operativo Centrale di Sicurezza
Italian NOCS 01.jpg
Official Insignia
Active 1978–present
Country Italy
Branch Polizia di Stato
Type Police tactical unit
Part of Direzione Centrale della Polizia di Prevenzione (English: Central Directorate for the Anti-Terrorism Police)[1]
Motto(s) Sicut Nox Silentes (English: Silent as the Night)[2]
Engagements Anti-crime operations against terrorist groups, including Red Brigades
Andrea Mainardi
Andrea Scandurra, Maurizio Genolini, Edoardo Perna, Paolo Gropuzzo

The Nucleo Operativo Centrale di Sicurezza (NOCS) (English: Central Security Operations Service) is the police tactical unit of the Polizia di Stato, one of Italy's national police forces. It operates under the command of the Direzione Centrale della Polizia di Prevenzione (English: Central Directorate for the Anti-Terrorism Police).[1][3]


Photo of Army Parade in Rome, 2 June 2006, Republic Day. NOCS special groups

In 1974 the Chief of the Polizia di Stato Anti-Terrorism Bureau, Emilio Santillo, announced the necessity to establish a tactical unit with the capability to arrest known terrorists and to support the local counter-terrorism field office. Personnel were selected from Police Sports Group "Fiamme Oro ("Gold Flames"), particularly trained in martial arts. The 35-man team was denominated "counter-commando unit" and commanded by Maj. Andrea Sgandurra, an officer with counter-insurgency experiences, and a skilled proponent of hand-to-hand combat skills. After one year of training (offensive driving, sniping, various shooting skills, and a tactical assault course) in 1975 the unit became operational and immediately started mission against the left wing terrorist organization NAP ("Nuclei Armati Proletari", Proletarian Armed Service). Later they operated against the right wing group "New Order", which resulted in the arrests of well-known terrorists Gentile Schiavone and Pierluigi Concutelli. In 1978, the Italian government decided to modify the structure of the Anti-Terrorist Bureau to improve its capabilities. This change resulted in the formation of SISMI (military intelligence), SISDE (civilian intelligence), and a police counter-terrorism agency (UCIGOS, General Investigations and Special Operations Central Office). This office was the only responsible for Italian counter-terrorism. The UCIGOS's tactical unit became the NOCS (Nucleo Operativo Centrale di Sicurezza, Central Security Operations Service), the old counter-commando unit with far more operatives, training, and responsibilities. During its 22 years of existence, NOCS has performed more than 4,500 missions and 205 arrests. The 25–42 operatives studied terrorist methodology and created innovative tactics procedures. Their motto is Sicut Nox Silentes (As Silent as Night).

In 1982 under the tactical command of Capt. Edoardo Perna a 12-man section, without firing a single shot, freed Brigadier General James Dozier, who had been held hostage by Red Brigades terrorists.[2][4] In the following years NOCS expanded in size and capabilities and under new command, then Maj. Maurizio Genolini, became a full-fledged counter-terrorism unit, with capabilities of operations on aircraft, trains, buses, embassies, and stadium areas and established good relations with several counter-terrorism units in the western world.

Recently, NOCS has undergone another change and become the Anti-Terrorism Special Operations Division. The unit improved capabilities in C3I and a computer and video section was added. NOCS was innovative regarding the incorporation of computers in training formalizing this with the addition of a separate video section. NOCS also expanded its training in VIP protection and driving, augmented by training with the well-established United States Secret Service. This relationship sparked the creation of a unit similar in form and function to USSS counter-terrorism teams as well. VIP protection is not a main mission for NOCS, but they are responsible for this duty when high risk personalities come to Italy.

In 2017, NOCS revealed that a female operator, known as "Marta", become part of the operational unit of the department, one of the first cases in European law enforcement where a woman is recruited in a police-tactical unit.[5]



Today, SOD/NOCS have three tactical assault teams and one protection division. All operatives have HALO training, EOD training, sniper and combat shooting. Several operatives have SCUBA training as well. SOD has a logistics branch with specialized personnel in support of operatives. NOCS has several specialized vehicles, operated by specially trained drivers. The basic training last six months and is followed by an advance training program lasting an additional six months.

Prospective recruits must have at least four years of service with the PS and be at least 28 years old when they enlist.[2]



  1. ^ a b "Investigations". Polizia di Stato. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c
  3. ^ "Il Nucleo Operativo Centrale di Sicurezza (Nocs)". Ministero dell'interno (in Italian). 5 January 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Scampini, Sabrina (24 March 2017). "Io, prima donna dei Nocs, combatto i terroristi all'insaputa della mia famiglia". IO Donna (in Italian). Retrieved 12 October 2018.

External links

  • Official website (in Italian)
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