Varley refutes police brutality claims in Makira arrest

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BY MAVIS NISHIMURA PODOKOLO

POLICE Commissioner Matthew Varley condemns allegations that his officers used excessive force during an arrest in Makira-Ulawa province and then tried to cover up by lying to public.

Mr Varley labels these allegations as outright false.

In a police media conference on Thursday, Varley responded to questions relating to the arrest few weeks ago of the suspect into the burning of a police ray-boat in Makira.

“That is not true, there is no suggestion that in fact Deputy Commissioner of Police in Makira Gabriel Manelusi tried to lie to the community or in did the PPC try to lie to the community.

“We received range of information and reports from officers involved in that operation from Makira, Honiara and Police Response Team (PRT) and on all accounts this information above indicates men was treated in accordance with police procedures and with proper custody procedures.”

Varley explained that what Commissioner Manelusi reported last week was that if there are complaints about police with evidence supporting them, then they should be brought forward for proper investigation.

“I think it’s unfortunate and it’s unfair to then perhaps degrade the character of the acting PPC for saying that there has been some attempt to lie to the community that is simply not true,” Varley said.

Varley said on June 15 officers of the Honiara-based PRT unit were deployed to Makira to arrest the suspect.

He said the first attempt failed, which prompted a second attempt, however this time with the use of undercover tactics, which turned out successful.

Varley said that during this second attempt, officers had to use capsicum spray to incapacitate the suspect, who had reportedly resisted arrest.

He was then brought to Kirakira, Makira-Ulawa capital.

At that time there was a large number of community members observing the police operation.

He said reports from individual officers witnessing different scene when the case occurred highlighted the man was brought safely to Kirakira with no evidence of injuries or badly harmed as claimed by his relatives on the media.

“Upon arrival at Kirakira I was informed that the suspect walked well into the station and there was nothing to hide in terms of injuries he had suffered at that time.

“At this time the matter is before the court and he is still on remand.

“Should relatives or other community members have evidence to bring forward to the police about the men’s mistreatment, we encouraged them to do that these message has been sent over last week to Supervising Commissioner Manelusi,” said Varley.

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