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IGP bans FSARS, IRT, other squads from patrols

 

W orried by reported cases of professional misconduct occasioned by extortion, brutality and harassment, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, has banned operatives of the dreaded Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) as well as the Special Tactical Squad (STS) from undertaking routine patrols across the country.

 

Other tactical squads of the Force affected by the IGP’s directive, which is with immediate effect, included the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and Anti-Cultism Squad, among others. Apart from patrol operations, the tactical squads have also been warned against embarking on other conventional lowrisk duties such as stop and search, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks and traffic checks.

 

Specifically, the IGP has warned the special operatives against the “invasion of the privacy of citizens, particularly through indiscriminate and unauthorized search of mobile phones, laptops and other smart devices. The orders affect all the personnel operating at the federal, zonal and command levels.

 

The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), DCP Frank Mba, who conveyed the police chief’s directive in a statement yesterday, further noted that Commissioners of Police (CPs) in charge of the 36 state commands, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and their supervising Zonal Assistant Inspectors General will be held responsible for any further acts of misconduct by the  aforementioned personnel. Contrary to what had become the norm, the operatives will now appear in the police uniforms, or approved tactical gear.

 

 

This will ensure easy identification and application of possible sanctions, where there are breaches. “In addition, no personnel of the Force is authorized to embark on patrols or tactical assignments in mufti. They must always appear in their police uniforms or approved tactical gear,” Mba said.

 

The FPRO said investigations had revealed that some operatives take advantage of the aforementioned activities to perpetrate brazen acts of rights’ violations. By this development, the elite squads are to concentrate on fighting violent crimes afflicting society such as armed robbery, kidnapping and the like. According to Mba,

 

“The IGP’s directives come against the backdrop of findings by the leadership of the Force that a few personnel of the Tactical Squads hide under these guises to perpetrate all forms of illegality, contrary to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement establishing the squads.

 

“The IGP notes that the FSARS and other Police Tactical Squads remain a critical component of the Force in confronting prevailing and emerging violent crimes in the country.

 

“He, however, condemns every act of unprofessionalism, abuse of human rights and high-handedness by some personnel of the Squads.” To ensure immediate compliance, Adamu has deployed the Force’s Xsquad and its Monitoring Unit for the purpose.

 

They are to conduct massive nationwide monitoring of activities of Tactical Squads and other police officers on the road, with a view to ensuring “prompt arrest, investigation and prosecution of all erring police officers who violate these directives and other extant regulations of the Force.”

 

“The IGP has equally warned that henceforth, the Commissioner of Police in charge of FSARS, Commissioners of Police in charge of State Commands and the FCT, as well as their supervisory Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police, will be held liable for any misconduct within their Area of Responsibility (AOR).

 

“He, therefore, charged them to ensure effective supervision and mentoring of the personnel of the Tactical Squads under their jurisdiction,” the police added. Meanwhile, two operatives of the FSARS and their civilian accomplice operating in Lagos State  Inspectors Sale James and Monday Uchiola, as well as one Okechukwu Ogbonna – have been arrested by the Lagos State Police Command, for acts of professional misconduct, including extortion and intimidation of innocent citizens.

 

The operational vehicle of the men has also been impounded and disciplinary procedure has already commenced against the defaulters. “The IGP reaffirms his commitment to bequeathing to Nigerians, a reformed Police Force that is accountable, responsible and ever ready to defend and uphold the rights of the citizens while discharging its duties of keeping the people safe and secure.

 

“He enjoins the citizens not to allow the misconduct by a few personnel of the Force to negatively impact on their belief, confidence and trust in the Police,” Mba said

 

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