The Inspector-General of Police (I-G), Mr Mohammed Adamu has banned the personnel of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other Tactical Squads of the police from routine patrols across the country.
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Mr Frank Mba disclosed this in a statement on Sunday, October 4, in Abuja.
Adamu said the squads affected by the ban are the Special Tactical Squad (STS); Intelligence Response Team (IRT); Anti-Cultism Squad; as well as other Tactical Squads operating at the Federal, Zonal, and Command levels.
He said the affected squads were by the directive, banned from carrying out routine patrols as well as other conventional low-risk duties; stop and search; checkpoints; mounting of roadblocks; and also traffic checks, with immediate effect.
“In addition, no personnel of the Force is authorised to embark on patrols or tactical assignments in mufti. They must always appear in their police uniforms or approved tactical gear,” he said.
Adamu said the directives came against the backdrop of findings by the leadership of the Force that a few personnel of the Tactical Squads hide under this guise to perpetrate all forms of illegality.
According to him, the I-G has warned the Tactical Squads against the invasion of the privacy of citizens particularly through the indiscriminate and unauthorised search of mobile phones; laptops; as well as other smart devices.
He said the personnel was to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery; kidnapping; and also other violent crimes when the need arises.
The I-G said the SARS and other Police Tactical Squads remain a critical component of the Force in confronting prevailing and emerging violent crimes in the country.
He, however, condemned every act of unprofessionalism; abuse of human rights; and high handedness by some personnel of the Squads.
The I-G, therefore, ordered the X-Squad and the Monitoring Unit to embark on immediate and massive nationwide monitoring of activities of Tactical Squads and other police officers on the road.
He urged the monitoring unit to ensure prompt arrest; investigation; and prosecution of all erring police officers who would violate these directives and other extant regulations of the Force.
Adamu said the Commissioners of Police in charge of SARS, State Commands and their supervisory Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police, would be held liable for any misconduct within their Area of Responsibility (AOR).
The I-G therefore urged them to ensure effective supervision and mentoring of the personnel of the Tactical Squads under their jurisdiction.
Adamu said two operatives of the FSARS and their civilian accomplice operating in Lagos State were arrested by the Lagos State Police Command, for acts of professional misconduct including extortion and intimidation of innocent citizens.
He said the operational vehicle of the men had also been impounded; adding that, the disciplinary procedure had already commenced against the defaulters.
The I-G pledged to bequeath to Nigerians, a reformed Police Force that would be accountable; responsible; and ever ready to defend and uphold the rights of citizens in the course of their duties.
He enjoined citizens not to allow the misconduct by a few personnel of the Force to negatively impact on their belief; confidence; and also trust in the police.