The Inspector General of Police (I-G), Mr Mohammed Adamu, has banned the personnel of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other tactical squads of the police from engaging in routine patrols across the country.
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Mr Frank Mba, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.
Adamu said that the squads affected by the ban were the Special Tactical Squad (STS), Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Anti-Cultism Squad and other tactical squads operating at the federal, zonal and command levels.
He said that the affected squads were prohibited from carrying out routine patrols and other conventional low-risk duties, stop-and-search checkpoints, as well as mounting of roadblocks and traffic checks with immediate effect.
“In addition, no personnel of the Force are 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 that the directives came against the backdrop of findings by the leadership of the Force that a few personnel of the tactical squads hid under these guises to perpetrate all forms of illegality.
According to him, the I-G has warned the tactical squads against the invasion of the citizens’ privacy, particularly through indiscriminate and unauthorised search of mobile phones, laptops and other smart devices.
He said that the personnel were to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes whenever the need arose.
The I-G\, however, said the FSARS and other police tactical squads remained a critical component of the Nigeria Police Force in confronting prevailing and emerging violent crimes across the country.
He, nonetheless, 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 the 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 that the Commissioners of Police in charge of FSARS, 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 that two operatives of the FSARS and their civilian accomplice 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 disciplinary procedures against the offenders had already commenced.
The I-G pledged to bequeath to Nigerians a reformed Nigeria 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 urged the citizens not to allow the misconduct of a few personnel of the Force to negatively impact on their belief, confidence and trust in the police.