POLICE Chief Matthew Varley says the actions of the police officers’ involved in the traffic accident along the Mbokonavera road in Honiara this week are irresponsible and stupid.
Speaking to reporters at his weekly conference on Thursday, Mr Varley also confirmed that the driver of the police vehicle and two other officers’ in the vehicle are off duty officers.
“This case is a very serious example of where someone is alleged to be driving a vehicle off duty,” Mr Varley said.
“…but I can assure you at this time that our investigation indicates that he was not authorised to have that car,” he added.
Mr Varley said they are investigating how the officer came to have the vehicle.
The police chief said he had ordered the suspension of the driver of the police vehicle from the RSIPF with immediate effect.
He said what the officers have done is a grave breach of trust and responsibility and he is embarrassed by the incident.
“Actions of individuals like this as irresponsible and stupid as they maybe do not represent the overwhelming good majority of police officers who do their job well and professionally in the service of RSIPF and this country,” Mr Varley told reporters.
The incident occurred between 10.30pm and 11pm on Tuesday, February 19.
Police alleged the police vehicle was travelling at a high speed at Mbokonavera road heading south when it ran into the Holy Cross Cathedral brick wall near the road and overturned.
It was further alleged that there were two other police officers in the vehicle with the driver when the incident occurred.
The driver was taken to the National Referral Hospital for medical attention.
Mr Varley also told reporters that the officer refused to be breath tested when traffic officers attended the hospital to interview and do breath test for alcohol on him.
As a result, the officer was served with a notice of intended prosecution in relation to a number of traffic offenses.
Mr Varley further added that he had instructed the director of Professional Standards Internal Investigation Department (PSII) to progress this matter as high priority.
“Obviously there are a number of witnesses and interviews we need to do,” he said when asked as to how long the investigation will take.
He said they will also prepare the brief of evidence and then get legal advice on the charges.
“… but I don’t want to put a time frame on it in the sense that we have to make sure this is done thoroughly and properly.
“…..but it is going to be a high priority for us and at the same time as said earlier, my decision is to immediately suspend that driver of that police vehicle until such time further actions are taken.”
The police chief said the damage to the vehicle was substantial and severe.