By Our Reporter
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, over the weekend stated why he banned the personnel of the FSARS and other tactical squads of the force from routine patrols.
He stated this in a statement issued by Force Headquarters in Abuja. The IGP said other tactical squads affected by the ban include the Special Tactical Squad (STS), Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Anti-Cultism Squad and other tactical squads operating at the federal, zonal and command levels were banned from carrying out routine patrols and other conventional low-risk duties notably stop and search duties, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks, traffic checks among others.
The statement signed by Force PRO and Deputy Commisioner of Police, (DCP), Frank Mba, said the ban takes immediate effect.
It said “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.
The statement said the “IG’s directives came against the backdrop of findings by the leadership of the Force that a few personnel of the tactical squads hide under these guise to perpetrate all forms of illegality, contrary to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement establishing the squads”.
“Specifically, the IG has warned the tactical squads against the invasion of the privacy of citizens particularly through indiscriminate and unauthorised search of mobile phones, laptops and other smart devices. They are to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes when the need arises”.
The IG noted 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, condemned every act of unprofessionalism, abuse of human rights and high-handedness by some personnel of the squads.
Consequently, the IG 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.
“They are to ensure prompt arrest, investigation and prosecution of all erring police officers who violate these directives and other extant regulations of the force”, it said.
The IG also 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, would 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.
In a related development, two operatives of the FSARS and their civilian accomplice operating in Lagos State, Inspector Sale James, Inspector Monday Uchiola and Okechukwu Ogbonna were 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 were also impounded and disciplinary procedure has already commenced against the defaulters.
Mba said the IG reaffirmed 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 enjoined 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.