The Italian Almanac

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Italian News - January 24

Italy's railway police have started using stand-up electric scooters to help them zip about train stations, patrolling platforms for potential trouble. The two-wheel 'Segway' vehicles, which are self-balancing and can reach speeds of 20 km/h, came into use in recent days in 15 big-city railway stations up and down the country. Thanks to the devices, which are painted in the police's blue and white colours, officers stand 25 cm off the ground and hence have a better vision of the surrounding scene.

"Using the Segway you can monitor the railway premises more thoroughly and ensure speedy intervention by patrols," said Paolo Tiberti, head of railway police. Equally useful is the fact that officers can also be more easily spotted by commuters and potential lawbreakers, he added. They are scheduled to come into service in Rome, Naples and other cities by the end of the month.

A new model of the Segway is currently being tested in the hope that in future the scooters will also be able to carry police rapidly across bumpy ground as well as the smooth surface of station platforms.