By Hassan Zaggi
Training for the new Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team formed to replace the disbanded Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS) will commence on Sunday.
This was contained in a memo dated October 13, 2020 by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, with number CB: 4770/IGP.SEC/ABJ/V22/156.
It was addressed to Deputy Inspectors General of Police, Assistant Inspectors General of Police, Commissioners of Police and Commandants of Police Colleges nationwide.
In the memo sighted by The Nation on Thursday, the new SWAT outfit will comprise of officers and men selected based on clearly defined criteria and they will be specially trained in weapons handling and tactical operations.
Adamu said they shall also be oriented to 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 said the mandate of the SWAT Team will be intelligence-led and limited to response to robbery attacks, response to scenes of weapon-related crimes and rescue operations.
Others include special operations, involving high-profile criminals that constitute threats to national security including anti-banditry, and counterterrorism and counter-insurgency operations which will require special tactical response.
The IGP said the outfit shall comprise of a State Commander, Second in-Command and thirty-six (36) other officers and men.
The breakdown is as follows: one Chief Superintendent of Police as State SWAT Commander, one Superintendent of Police as 2 I/C State SWAT Commander, there Deputy Superintendents of Police as Section Commanders, and three Assistant Superintendents of Police as 2I/C Section Commanders.
Others are 24 Inspectors and Non Commissioned Officers as Operatives and another six NCOs as drivers.
He said in the long-term, the number of SWAT Teams per state will be expanded based on the assessment of the security realities of each Command.
On the selection criteria, he said they must be between the ages of 25 – 40 years for operational elements and between the ages of 35 – 45 years for command elements.
The IGP said they must have not less than seven years policing service experience and be physically fit to withstand the rigour of SWAT Training and Operation.
Adamu said personnel of the outfit shall be kitted with specially branded uniforms, kits and accoutrements.
The Police Boss 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-Orangun, Osun State; PMF Training College, Ende Hills, Nasarawa State; and PTS Nonwa-Tai, Rivers State commencing from Sunday 18th October, 2020.
“The first batch of the training shall comprise of fifty (50) officers and men to be selected from the FCID, the 36 State Police Commands and the FCT. It is to be noted that the selected personnel will be screened and their suitability ascertained at the Training Institutions. State Commands that require additional SWAT Teams will have their personnel trained during the second and subsequent phases of the training,” he said.
He said the Training will hold simultaneously at three designated Police Colleges.