Plain clothes policemen on buses, armed traffic wardens and yet more soldiers patrolling the streets are among the measures the city has announced to reduce crime in Rome.

A new squad of plain clothes police officers are to patrol the metro, buses and trams looking out for petty criminals such as pickpockets and molesters who take advantage of crowded public transport. The Rome police department says that to begin with undercover officers will be on surveillance duty to assess lines most at risk.

In addition, the city is offering free public transport to soldiers in uniform, partly to support the over 20,000 military personnel stationed in and around Rome, but also to increase their visibility as a deterrent to crime.

Finally, the long discussed proposal to arm traffic wardens with pepper spray, night sticks and handguns has received approval from the city council. In February the first group of around 1,000 wardens begins psychological evaluation and weapons training before coming under arms in June. Traffic wardens have the option not to carry firearms, but they will be required to carry pepper spray and night sticks.