SARS officers not allowed to join SWAT, Police say

The basic training of SWAT officers will start on Sunday, October 18, 2020.

The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, says a strict selection criteria will be used [Presidency]

Former officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) are barred from joining the newly-created Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit of the Nigeria Police Force.

SARS was dissolved days ago following nationwide protests against the extra-judicial activities of the group that have escalated over the past few years.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, said in a statement on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 that SWAT will fill the gaps left by SARS whose main role was tackling violent crimes especially armed robbery and kidnapping.

One of the criteria for the selection of SWAT officers stipulates that they must not have worked for SARS, according to a Police memo seen by Pulse.

Officers to be recruited must also have at least seven years policing service experience, and must be passed physically fit to withstand training and operation.

They will also undergo medical and psychological fitness to certify them fit medically, emotionally, and psychologically.

"All personnel will as a critical pre-requisite undergo and pass medical examination, psychometry and toxicological screening for drug of abuse which will be conducted by the Police Medical Services during training and those found to be unsuitable shall be discharged," the memo, signed by the IGP, read.

Another criteria for selection is that prospective SWAT officers must not have pending disciplinary issues, or any serious previous record of professional misconduct touching on intemperate behaviour, incivility to members of the public, corrupt practices, and misuse of firearms.

For operational service, recruited officers must be between the ages of 25 and 40 years, and 35 and 45 years for command elements.

The document also states clearly that SWAT teams are to be strictly intelligence-led, and only to respond to robbery attacks, scenes of weapons-related crimes, and rescue operations.

They will also embark on special operations involving high-profile criminals that constitute threats to national security including anti-banditry, counterterrorism, and counter-insurgency operations that require special tactical response.

50 officers and men are to be selected from the FCID, and each 36 State Police Commands and the FCT for the first batch of training.

The basic training of SWAT officers will start on Sunday, October 18, and will run for three weeks in three camps across the country.

Adamu in Tuesday's statement ordered officers of the defunct SARS to return to Force Headquarters in Abuja for debriefing, psychological, and medical examination.

Officers are to be retrained and reoriented before being redeployed into mainstream policing duties.

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