The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has barred operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, from providing security protection for Very Important Persons.
He also asked them to stop conducting ‘stop-and-search on roads, involvement in civil matters including land disputes, personal disputes, debt collection and other civil issues.
Idris, who spoke during a meeting with SARS commanders at the Force Headquarters, Abuja on Friday, said the Nigeria Police Force under his leadership was worried by the clamour by some Nigerians that the unit be scrapped.
The IG directed that all operatives of the squad must henceforth appear in official uniform clearly marked for identification.
He said they could only conduct stop-and-search operation on roads when necessary, adding that such operation must be with the permission of Commissioner of SARS or Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of operations in the commands they are answerable to.
Any operation conducted by the operatives, according to the police boss, must be in a “non-discriminatory, proportional, fair and accountable manner.”
The measures, he said,were as a result of the police administration’s response to the yearnings and demands of modern policing.
“In demonstration of good faith to the aspiration of the Nigerian populace, I have given mandate to the IGP’s Monitoring Units and ‘X’ Squad and other oversight units of the Force to monitor the activities of the SARS operatives, while in the same vein, citizens are encouraged to avail the police ways to improve SARS operations across the nation, “he added.
Other measures which the police leadership has taken to reform the SARS, according to the IG, were the designation of the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of operations to lead the unit as its strategic commander and appointment of a Commissioner of Police as a field Commander of all activities related to SARS.
Idris disclosed that SARS operations in each state command would be under the Commissioner of Police through the Deputy Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners of Police in charge of operations.
As part of the reform, the police boss hinted that psychometric test, training and continuous assessment of operatives would be deployed to determine the suitability or otherwise of their role in keeping with acceptable standard operating procedures.
He also said the unit would be confined to its established role of preventing, confronting and solving cases related to armed robbery and generally protecting the public from armed robbery and other violent crimes.