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SWAT operatives to undergo toxicology tests

As part of measures to insulate the newlye s t abl ished Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit from avoidable pitfalls, officers and personnel of the tactical squad will be subjected to medical and toxicology examination.

Besides, the personnel are to be guided by high professional and ethical standards, rule of law and dictates of best international policing practices. SWAT was set up by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, to replace the disbanded Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS).

New Telegraph recalls that the IGP had, in October 11, ordered the immediate disbandment of the F-SARS, over violation of human rights, extra-judicial killings, extortion and other excesses. Prior to the dissolution, there had been a sustained agitation for the dissolution of SARS, spearheaded by #EndSARS protesters. The protests have, however, continued despite the scrapping of the dreaded squad, and other actions taken by the authorities, as demanded by the protesters.

Following doubts about the modus operandi of SWAT, in the face of the excesses associated with SARS, the Force Headquarters has assured of a new policing structure based on strict adherence to international best practices.

To demonstrate that commitment, therefore, the police have announced partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). According to a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), DCP Frank Mba, the IGP has reassured of his commitment to emplace a new policing system that will heal the wounds inflicted by SARS.

Specifically, Adamu has vowed that personnel of SWAT, who are scheduled to commence training today, will be men and women of proven integrity. Those to qualify for the training, he added, are personnel with not less than seven years working experience, as anyone found wanting will be dropped. “The Inspector General of Police has reaffirmed that the new Police Tactical Team will operate within very high professional and ethical standards, rule of law and dictates of best international policing practices.

“In pursuant of the above objectives, the NPF is partnering with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other Development Partners for the training of the Tactical Team which commences Monday, 19th October, 2020 at the Police Mobile Force (PMF) Training School, Ila Orangun, Osun State and the PMF Training School, Ende Hills, Nasarawa State. “The IGP reiterates that no personnel of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) will be a member of the new Tactical Team,” Mba said.

This was as the police chief noted that the officers selected for the training are young, smart and energetic officers who have acquired not less than seven years working experience with clean service records – no pending disciplinary matters, no record of violation of rights of citizens or misuse of firearms – and are physically fit to withstand the rigour of SWAT Training and Operations.

He added: “The selected officers shall be subjected to physical fitness test, medical and toxicology screening etc. and those found to be unsuitable shall be discharged. “The ICRC, an independent international human rights and humanitarian support organization with over 71 years’ experience in humanitarian services and institutional support and development, will provide resource persons and materials to handle the human rights components of the training programme.

“Specifically, they will handle topics touching on humanitarian laws, police conduct in conflict situation, human rights standard, especially in the use of force and firearms, arrest and detention, amongst others.”

Other areas of the training programme, according to the police, will include: modern-day police ethics and values, Intelligenceled policing, Operation planning/Tactical decision making processes, hostage rescue tactics and operation, weapon handling, first aid/basic life-saving skills, stress/fear management, police-citizens relations and emotional intelligence, among others. The IGP, therefore, enjoined the citizens to be patient and to believe in the reform processes which are all directed at ensuring the security, safety and rights of all.

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