BSP investigates claims of youth beatings

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday, June 7th 2011

BANK South Pacific is investigating its security guards who were allegedly drunk when they beat up two youths, deputy general manager Daryl Balchin said.
Balchin, the bank’s head of security, said the probe was launched at 8am on May 31 in direct response to an article titled, “Drunk guards beat up youths” published in The National newspaper that morning.
“BSP is committed to ensuring the investigation is thorough, transparent and based on fact and independent accounts,” he said.
“As with proper investigations of this profile and nature, careful attention, consideration and time must be taken to ensure due process is followed,” he said.
“It is disappointing that The National newspaper before printing this article did not contact this bank to get a balanced view on this issue.
“The content of the article contains several misleading allegations, one of which, questions the sobriety of our officers.
“We categorically state that the attending officers had not consumed any alcohol while on duty.
“BSP has a current MOU with the RPNG Constabulary in relation to the bank’s police reservist officers.
“They are trained officers who are entitled to wear police uniforms with BSP reservists marked accordingly on them.
“And they have the powers as frontline police officers, which includes the power of arrest for criminal offences and public disorder.
“In this case there appears to be ample evidence to support the youths involved had committed a number of offences, including theft and assault.
“In this matter the police reservist were trying to initiate an apprehension of the youths who chose to fight with other people, which caused a melee to develop and which involved our BSP police reservists.
“The reservists were trying to calm the scene.
“BSP Security Services have strict code of conduct parameters and we take any breaches very seriously.
“Therefore we have a duty of care to ensure the investigation is thorough to satisfy our employer’s obligations, including that of the community and the PNG judicial system.
“If there is any unbiased and independent evidence of any wrongdoing of the BSP reservist then those responsible will face the appropriate employment and legal measures of BSP and the PNG judicial system.
“At this point of time the investigation has not been fully completed and a number of witnesses are yet to be interviewed.
“Until this matter has been fully investigated there will be no further comment,” he said.
The bank guards took the youth from Waigani Drive to the BSP commercial centre and assaulted them.
The bank did not comment on the use of commercial centre as a torture facility as claimed by the youths.