The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, has ordered the immediate reorganization of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and an investigation into the allegations of atrocities leveled against its operatives.
This was announced in a statement signed by Jimoh Moshood, the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO). According to the statement, the IGP’s order was in response to the social media campaign, #ENDSARSNOW, urging the disbandment of SARS due to the alleged involvement of some of its officers in illegal activities.
While noting that SARS has curbed armed robbery, kidnapping and cattle rustling among other crimes, the statement explained that the IGP has ordered an investigation into the allegations made against SARS and a restructuring of the squad.
“The IGP has directed the immediate reorganization of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) nationwide and an 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. In the new arrangement, a Commissioner of Police is now the overall head of the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad nationwide under the Department of Operations, Force Headquarters Abuja,” said the statement.
It added that the zonal and state commands as well as divisions will continue to operate anti-crime units, crime prevention and control squads to prevent and detect crimes and criminalities in their respective jurisdictions.
The statement equally explained that the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) will, from now on, exist and operate in the state and zonal commands under the Commissioner of Police, FSARS, at the Force Headquarters.
As part of the reorganization, the IGP also directed that a FSARS Commander of the rank of of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) and not below Superintendent of Police (SP) will be in charge of state and zonal commands of FSARS across the Country. The IGP equally directed all Commissioners of Police to immediately carry out the new directives and warn police personnel against posing as SARS operatives.
To ensure compliance, the IGP X-Squad has been mandated to go around the state commands and police formations nationwide to apprehend defaulters.
The statement also disclosed that a new training program on core police duties, respect for human rights and humane handling and care of suspects in custody will be required for all FSARS operatives. The program, explained the statement, will be conducted in collaboration with civil society organizations, local and international non-governmental organizations and other human rights bodies.
The IGP urged members of the public who have complaints of rights violations committed by SARS operatives to lodge reports through a variety of platforms, including telephone and social media.