Ibrahim Idris, inspector general of police (IGP), has ordered the immediate reorganisation of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS).
The IGP’s directive came on the heels of calls for the proscription of SARS whose operatives have been accused of maltreating innocent Nigerians.
In a statement on Monday, Idris also ordered the immediate investigation of alleged crimes of torture levelled against the anti-robbery squad.
The IGP said the move to reorganise the police unit is to ensure that it operates “based on international core value of policing with integrity and (to) make sure the rule of law prevails in the operations and activities of the outfit”.
The statement read: “The IGP has directed the immediate re-organization of SARS nationwide and instant investigation into all the allegations, complaints and infractions levelled against the personnel of the 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.
“The police zonal commands, state commands and divisions will continue to operate anti-crime units/sections, crime prevention and control squads and teams imperative to prevent and detect crimes and criminalities in their area of responsibilities, and other crack squads necessary to sustain law and order and protection of life and properties in their area of responsibilities.
“Federal anti-robbery squad (FSARS) will now exist and operate in the state and zonal commands under the commissioner of police (F-SARS) at the force headquarters.
“A federal SARS commander of a rank of chief superintendent of police (CSP) and not below superintendent of police (SP) will be in charge of FSARS in state and zonal commands across the country.”
The statement further said 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.
While noting that SARS operatives have been doing very well in fighting violent crimes in the country, the IGP called for an immediate nationwide training to be organized by the force in collaboration with some civil society organizations (CSOs), non-governmental organisations and other human rights organisations “on core police duties, observant of human rights and handling, care and custody of suspects”.
He added that aggrieved members of the public who have any complaint of violation of their rights by any SARS personnel anywhere in the country should report through established channels for “investigation and further action”.