IGP orders SARS operatives to wear uniforms with identification

Ibrahim Idris, inspector-general of police (IGP), has ordered operatives of the special anti-robbery squads (SARS) to wear uniforms with full identification pending the launch of new Federal-SARS uniform.

Jimoh Moshood, spokesman of the force, disclosed this in a statement after a briefing on the progress made on the overhaul of SARS.

Vice-President Yemi Osibanjo had ordered the IGP to overhaul the unit following persistent complaints and reports that border on allegations of human rights violations.

The statement read, “In the meantime, the Acting President has directed the National Human Rights Commission to set up a Committee that will conduct nation-wide investigation of the alleged unlawful activities of SARS in order to afford members of the general public the opportunity to present their grievances with a view to ensuring redress.”

The IGP renamed the police outfit federal SARS (FSARS) and ordered his operatives to go for psychiatric evaluation.

Represented by Habila Joshak, a deputy-inspector general, operations department, the IGP emphasised that the overhaul of SARS was beyond rhetoric and real reform was taking place.

The new update, however, included the setting up of a custody records management system for the overhauled unit throughout the country.

He explained that this system would contain the records of arrests, detentions and welfare details of suspects, noting that this system would discourage arbitrary arrest of people, and ensure that suspects are charged to court within 24 hours according to the law.

He said among other things that federal SARS operatives had been ordered not to attend to civil or commercial matters again. But strictly to armed robbery and kidnapping cases only.

Joshak added that the police had involved the services of psychologists and counsellors in the ongoing screening of its operatives.

Amaechi Elumelu, the deputy commissioner of police in charge of the IGP’s X-Squad, said the screening and mobilisation of FSARS operatives would not be business as usual again, as they will go through rigorous orientation, human rights training and other screening processes that will include the evaluation of their previous records on human rights.