SARS Overhaul: Operatives to wear uniform, restricted to robbery, kidnap cases

The Inspector General of Police, Mr, Ibrahim Idris, has ordered operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) to wear police uniforms with full identification.

A statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Jimoh Moshood, on Friday said the personnel are to comply with the directive pending the launch of a new uniform for the squad.

The police boss gave the directive at a stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja while highlighting the progress made by the police in the overhaul of the squad, in line with a presidential directive.

Mr. Idris, who was represented by the Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operations), Mr. Habila Joshak, stressed that the overhaul of SARS was beyond rhetoric and that real reform was taking place.

He disclosed that among other things, Federal SARS operatives would no longer attend to civil and commercial matters but strictly to armed robbery and kidnap cases only.

In his remarks, the newly appointed Commissioner of Police Federal SARS, Mr. Habiru Gwandu, informed the gathering of the creation of a Human Rights Desk in every state of the federation.

He said the establishment was to note and address cases of infractions against members of the public by FSARS personnel anywhere in the country, in collaboration with other human rights organisations.

Mr.Gwandu revealed that the police have involved the services of psychologists and counsellors in the ongoing screening of FSARS operatives.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the IGP’s X-Squad, Mr. Amaechi Elumelu, also briefed the gathering on the screening and mobilisation of FSARS operatives.

He said it would not be business as usual any longer, as those intending to join the squad would go through rigorous orientation, human rights training, and other screening processes that would include evaluating their previous records on human rights.

Mr. Elumelu announced the setting up of the Custody Records Management System, which he said would soon be unveiled by the IGP.

He said the system would contain the records of arrests, detentions and welfare details of suspects, adding that it would discourage arbitrary arrest of people and ensure that suspects were charged to court within 24 hours according to the law.

Reacting to the development, a social media activist, Mr. Segun Awosanya, who spearheaded the #ENDSARS campaign, thanked the president for ordering the overhaul of SARS.

He described the government as a listening one and called for trust between Nigerians and the police.

“If it is well with the police, it is well with the nation,” said Awosanya who promised to support the Force in the reform process.

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