Lagos Police Commissioner Hakeem Odumosu has banned the command’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit from detaining suspects in their cells.
He also directed they must only move out on information and must go straight to the venue where they must notify the Area Commander before carrying out their operations.
Odumosu made these disclosures during the Channels Television Sunrise Daily programme where he intimated residents of actions taken to enforce directives of the Inspector General of Police (IG) Mohammed Adamu on SARS reforms.
According to Odumosu, operatives attached to the tactical squads of the Command would have to sign undertaking committing them to professional best practices as they go about their duties.
He said he held a lecture with the officers of the Command on Monday to sensitise them on the new directive of the IG as part of measures to make the police more responsive.
The police boss expressed confidence that the new measures would be more effective than earlier directives issued to curtail the excesses of SARS operatives.
“It is going to be different because there will be more monitoring and supervision. The additional directive I gave is that they must not even go to investigate any case without booking their arrival at the Area Commander’s office so that the Area Commander will know that they are in that area doing what they ought to do. Once they finish, they must go back and file entry.
“Secondly, I gave a directive that they must not detain anybody in their cells any longer. They can only detain at my office or at the Area Commander’s office. And the Area Commander must interview any suspect they want to detain and ascertain that the suspect had done what warranted being detained.
“It will be better than what has been obtained because there is more supervision. They gave their words but I am going a step further because they are all signing undertaking in writing to comply with the directives of the IG and failure to adhere to the rules, the undertaking shall serve as evidence and they will be dealt with according to extent laws they all got the memo.”
Asked about SARS operatives whom residents claimed to have seen on Monday engaging in illegal patrols despite the IG’s ban the previous day, Odumosu explained that not all plain clothed policemen were of SARS.
“We need to understand that Lagos is a peculiar state and we have segments of police that do not put on uniform. Those are investigation teams. SARS, Anti-kidnapping and anti-cultism have uniforms and they must all put on their uniforms at all times in line with IG orders.
“Yes, we have SARS in the command and FSARS as well. SARS in the command reports to me but Federal SARS operatives are supervised by a Commissioner of Police.
“Their office is at Adeniji Adele. But the fact that they are Federal SARS doesn’t mean they are not under my control just as it doesn’t mean the SARS under my command cannot be controlled by the CP FSARS.”