Since 2011, some 152 disciplinary procedures have been opened against police officers, but unions say the action against a series of ridiculous 'offences' has created a “climate of exasperation” among the city's force.
In one case, reported by Il Fatto Quotidiano, a disciplinary procedure was opened against a police officer who “changed his voice to affect the cadences of the Campania dialect”.
Italy's southern region of Campania is renowned for its strong regional accent and distinct set of often incomprehensible dialects.
But police chiefs didn't find the accent funny. Indeed, they thought it “risked disorientating staff”. Unsurprisingly, the disciplinary action was later shelved.
Unions say many examples of similarly draconian and often nonsensical procedures have been brought against Verona's officers in the last five years.
One policeman was reportedly pulled up by management for “leaving clear footprints on the seats” of the station, while another was accused of leaving “a specious and totally unfounded newspaper article on their desk”.
The harsh sanctions are reportedly being meted out by officers loyal to unpopular police chief Luigi Altamura, who has repeatedly clashed with staff over changes to contracts and working hours.