In compliance with the Presidential directive that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) be overhauled, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris on Tuesday renamed the outfit, The Nation has reported.
The outfit according to the Police chief will be known as Federal SpecialAnti-Robbery Squad (FSARS).
The IG has also directed that all personnel under the new outfit should undergo medical and psychological evaluation.
As part of the overhaul, the IG also ordered immediate redesign of new uniform with identity name tag for all FSARS personnel throughout the country.
The IG has also appointed a new Commissioner of Police as the overall head of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad nationwide.
This is contained in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday by the Force Spokesman, Ag. DCP Jimoh Moshood.
The police also stated that FSARS will be intelligence driven and be restricted to the prevention and detection of armed robbery, kidnapping and the apprehension of offenders linked to the stated offences only.
The statement reads : “The Inspector General of Police in compliance with the Presidential directives has ordered the immediate overhauling of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to address complaints and allegations on human rights violations against some of the personnel of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) from members of the public in some parts of the Country.
“In the new arrangement, a new Commissioner of Police has been appointed as the overall head of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad nationwide.
“The Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad previously under the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department (FCIID) is henceforth to operate under the Department of Operations, Force Headquarters Abuja.
“The Commissioner of Police (FSARS) is answerable to the Inspector General of Police through the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Department of Operations.
“In observance of full compliance with the Presidential directives, the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad will be intelligence driven and will be restricted to the prevention and detection of Armed Robbery, kidnapping and the apprehension of offenders linked to the stated offences only”.
The statement continues: “New FSARS Commanders are being appointed for the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) across the country that will now exist and operate in the State and Zonal Commands under the Commissioner of Police (F-SARS) at the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
“A Federal SARS Commander of a Rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) but not below Superintendent of Police (SP) will be in charge of FSARS in State and Zonal Commands across the Country”.
Moshood said all Commissioners of Police have been directed by the IGP to comply with the directive with immediate effect and warn their personnel not to pose as SARS operatives.
He said the IGP X-Squad and Monitoring Unit have been mandated to go round the Commands and Police Formations nationwide to ensure strict compliance with the Presidential directives and apprehend any erring police officer.
The Police said some of the measures it would implement to ensure compliance with the presidential directives are: “”Human Rights Desk Officers for FSARS in every State to take complaints from the public and forward same to Force Headquarters, the officer will be answerable to the Commissioner of Police, FSARS at the Force Headquarters and not Commander FSARS in the States.
“Medical/Psychological evaluation of all FSARS personnel will be carried out immediately.
“Redesigning of new uniform with identity name tag for all FSARS personnel throughout the Country will be done immediately.
“Henceforth, FSARS personnel will not perform Stop and Search duties except on distress call to respond to armed robbery and kidnapping offences only”.
The Force said it will be transparent, cooperate, and work cordially with the National Human Right Commission on the special panel that will conduct an investigation of the alleged unlawful activities of FSARS to address grievances from the public against the personnel of FSARS in compliance with the presidential directives.
The Police also said a new training program to be organized by the Force in collaboration with some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), local and international NGOs, and other Human Rights Organizations on core Police Duties, Observant of Human Rights and Handling, Care and Custody of Suspects have been directed by the Inspector General of Police for all Federal SARS personnel nationwide with immediate effect.
The Force has also set up a committee of Senior Police officers, Technical Consultants, Human Rights/Civil Society organizations (CSOs) to review the activities of FSARS under the new arrangement.
The committee members are expected to pay unscheduled visits to FSARS formations across the country with particular attention to States with high complaints index, to assess facilities and situations in these States and submit report to the Inspector General of Police on regular basis.
The Force has also urged aggrieved members of the public who have any complaint in the past or present of violation of their rights by any Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) personnel anywhere in the country to report through any of the following channels for investigation and redress