IGP RELEASES COMPOSITION, STRUCTURE FOR NEWLY FORMED SWAT UNIT
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has released the composition and structure of the newly formed Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit.
On Tuesday, October 12, the IGP announced the creation of SWAT to replace the recently disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Adamu, in a memo, dated October 13, 2020, said the new SWAT outfit will comprise of officers and men that will be selected based on clearly defined criteria and they will be specially trained in weapons handling and tactical operations.
The Police Chief also said the newly formed SWAT would operate within very high professional and ethical standards, rule of law dictates and best international policing practices that will align with our national democratic values and yearnings of the citizens.
He noted that the mandate given to the SWAT unit would be strictly based on Intelligence and limited to robbery attacks, response to scenes of weapon-related crimes, rescue operations, special operations involving high-profile criminals that constitute threats to national security including anti-banditry, counterterrorism, and counter-insurgency operations which will require special tactical response.
Adamu, who disclosed that the newly formed SWAT shall comprise of a State Commander, Second-in-Command, and 36 other officers, revealed that the number of teams in the unit per State would be expanded based on the assessment of the security realities of each State.
He said no personnel of the team shall be engaged without being screened specially trained and certified as a SWAT Officer. The basic training will be three weeks long and shall be conducted at the PMF Training College, Illa-Orogun, Osun State; PMF Training College, Ende Hills, Nasarawa State; and PTS Nonwa-Tai, Rivers State commencing from Sunday, October 18, 2020.
The first batch of the training which would take place at the PMF Training College, Illa-Orogun, Osun State, between October 18 and November 7, 2020, would accommodate a total of 950 personnel in 19 different States; the second and third batch of the training which would hold within the same time frame would accommodate 600 personnel in 12 different States at PTS Nonwa – TAI, Rivers State, and 350 personnel in 7 different States at PMF Training School, Nassarawa, respectively.
The criteria for selection include;
Age - must be between the ages of 2 5 - 40 years for operational elements and between the ages of 35 - 45 years for command elements.
2. Service - must have not less than seven (7) years policing service experience.
3. Physical Fitness- must be physically fit to withstand the rigour of SWAT Training and Operation. Physical fitness test will include Cooper's Test.
4. Medical and Psychological Fitness- must be certified as medically, emotionally and psychologically fit. 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.
5. Discipline - must not have any pending disciplinary matter or any serious previous record of professional misconduct touching on intemperate behaviour, incivility to members of the public, corrupt practices and misuse of firearms among others.
6. Eligibility - Officers and Men to be Selected must not be one of the personnel in the recently dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
Recall that SARS was dissolved on Sunday, October 11, following nationwide protests against the extra-judicial killings, extortion, exploitation, and harassment of innocent citizens from the group that has escalated over the past few years.
The Police Chief said in a statement on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, said that SWAT would fill the void left by SARS whose main role was tackling violent crimes especially armed robbery and kidnapping.
It is pertinent to mention that operatives of the defunct SARS have also been ordered to return to the Force Headquarters in Abuja for debriefing, psychological evaluation, and medical examination.