80% of Metro SWAT ‘unfit and unskilled’

ALMOST 80 percent of the personnel of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) – National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) were found to lack the “fundamental skills” needed to work for the elite group, it was reported yesterday.

Also, 42 out of 418 SWAT personnel from five police districts of Metro Manila were said to be “physically fit” for duty as SWAT members, data from the NCRPO revealed.

These were the results of the NCRPO’s recent assessment conducted following the bloody end of the Luneta bus hostage-taking incident last August 23.

Eight Chinese tourists and the hostage-taker died in the incident.

Various sectors blamed the “bungled” rescue attempt by SWAT members of the Manila Police District (MPD) for the international embarrassment.

“Based on the results, of the 418 SWAT personnel who were assessed, only 42 passed the physical fitness tests as the rest required medical clearance due to age and medical conditions,” the NCRPO said.

It added: “Also, of the 324 or 77.5% lack the fundamental SWAT skills and 93 failed to complete and pass the individual skills tests.”

The dismal results of the recently concluded SWAT Assessment Program has prompted the NCRPO chief Director Leocadio Santiago to fast-track re-training of all tactical police units in Metro Manila.

“One of the recommendations of the assessment team is to immediately implement a training program to uplift the physical fitness and individual skills of the SWAT personnel,” the NCRPO data said.

Chief Supt. Miguel Laurel headed the assessment team composed of cadre-instructors from the PNP’s Special Action Force (SAF), which conducted and supervised the assessment of SWAT personnel.

Laurel said in his directive issued to all police districts of the NCRPO that all SWAT units in Metro Manila must undergo a standard training, which will be conducted also by SAF instructors.

“This is necessary to ensure the inter-operability of the various SWAT units from the regional, district, city and municipal police offices in the entire Metro Manila,” Santiago said in the directive.   Anthony Vargas

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