AMAECHI PERCY ONYEJEKWE and BEATRICE ONUCHUKWU, Awka
Following the presidential directive to reform the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) now known as FSARS to give it a human face, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Idris Abubakar, has put up measures to refine the outfit.
The measures include medical observation tests to determine the mental state and physical mental fitness of officers of the squad, training and retraining of men of the squad, custody management system, among other measures to ensure proper coordination and operation of the FSARS squad.
IGP Abubakar represented by National Coordinator, IGP X- Squad, Amaechi Elumelu, disclosed the measures to journalists during a press briefing attended by FSARS officers, Civil Rights groups, youth leaders among other stakeholders in Awka, Anambra State recently.
According to the IGP Abubakar hence forth no suspect would be detained beyond 48 hours unless where it is backed with a court order while unit heads would no longer commence cases based on information not made known to some relevant authorities in the police force
“The IGP has decided that there is going to be training and retraining of officers on regular basis. We have received information where people commence cases based on information received. That is no longer tolerated; Henceforth, every information must be properly checked and supervised by every unit command and made available to Commissioner, Federal SARS command to make sure no false information, malicious allegation or trumped up allegation is being made against anybody. There will no more be searching of laptops and cell phones of innocent citizens unless where such is linked to a case under investigation.
“The IGP has initiated the development of something we call Custody Management System. The system is going to tell us immediately someone is put in detention. It will not only be known to the unit commander of the unit, the IPO, it will also be known to the Commissioner of Police in the state, the Head of IGP X- Squad, the commissioner FSARS and any other person that should have access to that application.
“The reason for this is when suspect is detained within the limit of time allowed by law; all these people I have mentioned get alert. No one would be allowed to be detained beyond 48 hours; this is really going to help us. No one is going to be detained above 48 hrs without a court order. I want to assure you that it is going to be a brand new Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad. Your welfare as media men is also being considered”, he said.
The IGP, who noted the importance of the media in partnering with the police in crime combating and reporting, urged journalists to properly disseminate the information on the reformation of the FSARS to enable the public form proper opining of the new development.
For a better society.