As the training of selected officers for the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team begins today, the Inspector-General of Police, (IG), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, has listed the requirements of officers to be trained in the new police tactical team to replace the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The IG reassured Nigerians that no ex-SARS operatives have been shortlisted in the SWAT team.
Adamu explained: “The officers selected for the training are young, smart and energetic officers who have acquired not less than seven years working experience with clean service records – no pending disciplinary matters, no record of violation of rights of citizens or misuse of firearms – and are physically fit to withstand the rigour of SWAT training and operations.
A statement issued by Force Headquarters said Adamu reaffirmed that the new police tactical team would operate within high professional and ethical standards, obey the rule of law and dictates of best international policing practices.
It said in pursuant of the above objectives, the police would partner the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other development partners to train the tactical team at the Police Mobile Force (PMF) Training School, Ila Orangun, Osun State and the PMF Training School, Ende Hills, Nasarawa State.
The IG added that no personnel of the defunct SARS would be a member of the new tactical team.
“The selected officers shall be subjected to the physical fitness test, medical and toxicology screening among others and those found to be unsuitable shall be discharged,” the statement added.
The statement, signed by Force PRO and Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Mr. Frank Mba, said the ICRC, independent international human rights and humanitarian support organisation with over 71 years’ experience in humanitarian services and institutional support and development would provide resource persons and materials to handle the human rights components of the training programme.
“Specifically, they will handle topics touching on humanitarian laws, police conduct in conflict situation, human rights standard, especially in the use of force and firearms, arrest and detention amongst others.
“Other areas of the training programme will include modern-day police ethics and values, intelligence-led policing, operation planning/tactical decision making processes, hostage rescue tactics and operation, weapon handling, first aid/basic life-saving skills, stress/fear management, police-citizens relations and emotional intelligence etc,” the statement said.
It added that the training modules would be handled by other carefully selected development partners, security experts as well as veterans from the civil society and the human rights community.
The IG charged the training coordinators to ensure a diligent and timely delivery of the tactical team.
He said the necessity for the immediate establishment of a new tactical team was in view of the need to fill voids created by the dissolution of SARS, particularly during the “EMBER months” traditionally characterised with an upsurge in armed robbery and other violent crimes in the country.
The IG, therefore, sought the cooperation of citizens in the ongoing development drive for a new and reformed Nigeria Police Force.
He urged them to be patient and to believe in the reform processes which are all directed at ensuring the security, safety and rights of all.