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General News of Friday, 16 October 2020

Source: The Nation

IG outlines SWAT structure as training begins Sunday

File photo: Mohammed Adamu File photo: Mohammed Adamu

Despite the criticism of the setting up of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu has outlined the structure of the new outfit.

He also reaffirmed that the training of men and officers of SWAT will commence next week.

According to a memo from the IG to Deputy Inspectors General, Assistant Inspectors General of Police, Commissioners of Police and Commandants of Police Colleges, the new SWAT outfit will comprise of officers and men that will be selected based on clearly defined criteria.

They are to be specially trained in weapons handling and tactical operations.

Adamu said they will be oriented to operate within very high professional and ethical standards, rule of law and best international policing practices that will align with 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, rescue Operations, 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 State 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.

He said the physical fitness test will include Cooper’s Test.

The SWAT personnel must be certified as medically, emotionally and psychologically fit and will all 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. Those found to be unsuitable shall be discharged, he said.

He also said they 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 offirearms among others.

Adamu said officers and men to be selected must not be from the recently dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

He said the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), which will act as the protocol that will regulate the processes, conduct and operations of the SWAT Teams is being developed.

He added that officers and operatives of the Outfit shall be held accountable based on the extent of their compliance with the SOP.

Adamu said the personnel would be kitted with specially branded uniforms, kits and accoutrements.

“Under the new policy, no personnel will be authorized to use any uniform, kits or accoutrements other than as approved for the Outfit and officially issued to them.

On no account must they also undertake any operation without the branded items. The details of this shall be contained in the Standard Operating Procedure of the Outfit,” he said.

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-Orogun, 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.

In order to facilitate the immediate take-off of the newly approved NPF-SWAT Team, he directed the DIG FCID and Commissioners of Police in each of the 36 States of the Federation and the FCT to screen and select a total of 50 officers and men from each of their commands.

He said the DIG FCID and each Commissioner of Police across all the State Police Commands are to arrange and transport the 50 selected officers in their respective Command to the Training Colleges for which they are scheduled.

“All the officers and men MUST arrive and document on Sunday 18th October, 2020 at their designated training facility.”

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