Federal government has restated its commitment to reforming the Special Anti-Robbery Squad(SARS) personnel for improved security in the country.
The Deputy Chief of Staff to the Vice-President, Ademola Ipaye said this at the Expert Rountable on the “Reform of Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad(F-SARS) and the Role of External Accountability Agencies” in Abuja.
The programme was organised by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms in collaboration with the Nigeria Policing Programme.
Ipaye stated that SARS was a unit set up to fight violent crimes including armed robbery and kidnapping.
He, however, noted that the reform is apt following wide and continuous complaints against the operations of the SARS personnel by the citizens.
“However, after facing relentless allegations of wanton arrests, torture and extortion of citizens as reported by Amnesty International, the Federal Government issued a Presidential directive to the Inspector-General of Police, Mr.Ibrahim Idris to immediately embark on a total reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad(SARS)”.
Ipaye highligted some of the measures taken to reform SARS to include: Changing SARS to to Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad(F-SARS),the designation of the Deputy Inspector General of Police(DIG) Operations to lead SARS as the Strategic Commander,Psychometric test, training and continuous assessment of operatives deployed to SARS to determine the suitability or otherwise of their role in keeping with acceptable standard operating procedure, among others
He said in a bid to achieve the reform, the police had already designed a Standard Operational Procedure to establish a friendly SARS that would ensure transparency, accountablilty to the law,democratic government structure,protection of human rights and provision of professional services to the society.
Earlier, the Acting Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms(BPSR), Mr Dasuki Arabi, said the programme was veritable platform for the participants to contribute to policing issues with the view to finding solution to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad issue facing the country.
“The Rountable is designed to be fairly technical, among others, looking at the structure and mandates of various mechanisms to create stronger acountability mechanism of F-SARS in the performance of their duties”, Arabi said.