The police have responded to the agitations against the operations of its special anti-robbery squad, SARS, with the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, announcing an immediate reorganisation of the notorious unit.
For three days Nigerians have taken to social media to bemoan the brutality and lawlessness of SARS operatives. Idris said in a statement signed by the Force Public Relation’s Officer, Jimoh Moshood, that SARS would be repositioned for “more efficiency and effective service delivery to all Nigerians.”
Below are the new measures announced by the Police Command:
- Investigations: Instant investigation into all the allegations, complaints and infractions levelled against the personnel of the Special Anti Robbery Squad across the country by the IGP X-Squad of the Force.
- New arrangement: The Federal SARS will now be headed by a Commissioner of Police under the Department of Operations, Force Headquarters Abuja. Whereas divisional, state and zonal commands will still have squads that help prevent and detect crimes, SARS will now “exist and operate in the State and Zonal Commands under the Commissioner of Police (F-SARS) at the Force Headquarters.” Also, the SARS in the state and zonal commands will be led by a Federal SARS Commander of a Rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) and not below Superintendent of Police (SP).
- Enforcement: The IGP has directed all commissioners of police comply with the new arrangement “and warn their personnel not to pose as SARS operatives. The IGP X-Squad has been mandated to go round the Commands and Police Formations nationwide to ensure strict compliance and apprehend any erring police officer.”
- Training: 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.
- Complaints channels: The statement advised 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 further actions. GP X-Squad: 0902 690 0729 – Calls 0903 227 8905 – SMS 0903 562 1377 – what’s app; Email:firstname.lastname@example.org.