The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu has warned the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad and other tactical squads against the invasion of the privacy of citizens, particularly through unauthorised search of mobile phones, laptops and other smart devices.
He said they are now to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes when the need arises.”
These were contained in a statement issued by the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba on Sunday.
Though the IGP noted that the FSARS and other Police Tactical Squads remained a critical component of the force in confronting prevailing and emerging violent crimes in the country, he condemned every act of unprofessionalism, abuse of human rights and high-handedness by some personnel of the squads.
Adamu has also banned the personnel of the FSARS and other Tactical Squads of the Force including the Special Tactical Squad, Intelligence Response Team, Anti-Cultism Squad and other Tactical Squads operating at the Federal, Zonal and Command levels, from carrying out routine patrols.
They were equally banned from other conventional low-risk duties – stop and search duties, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks, and traffic checks – with immediate effect.
The statement added, “In addition, no personnel of the Force is authorised to embark on patrols or tactical assignments in mufti.
“They must always appear in their police uniforms or approved tactical gear.”
The IGP’s directives came, according to the statement, against the backdrop of findings by the leadership of the Force that a few personnel of the Tactical Squads hide under these guise to perpetrate all forms of illegality.
He said this illegality, ran contrary to the Standard Operating Procedure, and Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement establishing the squads.
Adamu has ordered the X-Squad and the Monitoring Unit to embark on immediate and massive nationwide monitoring of activities of Tactical Squads and other police officers on the road.
It added, “They are to ensure prompt arrest, investigation and prosecution of all erring police officers who violate these directives and other extant regulations of the Force.
The IGP has equally warned, that henceforth, the Commissioner of Police in charge of FSARS, Commissioners of Police in charge of State Commands and the FCT as well as their supervisory Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police, will be held liable for any misconduct within their Area of Responsibility.
He therefore charged them to ensure effective supervision and mentoring of the personnel of the Tactical Squads under their jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, two operatives of the FSARS and their civilian accomplice operating in Lagos State, Sale James, Monday Uchiola and Okechukwu Ogbonna, have been arrested by the Lagos State Police Command, for acts of professional misconduct including extortion and intimidation of innocent citizens.
The operational vehicle of the men has also been impounded and disciplinary procedure has already commenced against the defaulters.