A senior Victorian policeman who was appointed to clean up the armed offenders squad has been charged with bashing a suspect during questioning.

Detective Inspector Bernie Rankin is the most senior officer charged by the Office of Police Integrity since it was formed by the Bracks Government three years ago. He has been charged along with suspended detective Robert Dabb and former detectives Mark Butterfield and Matthew Franc.

The hearings revealed secret video recordings of officers ‘allegedly’ slapping, punching and kicking an armed robbery suspect in an interview room.

Rankin, a former head of the homicide squad who is now on secondment with the Australian Federal Police in the Solomon Islands, is facing charges of “counselling or procuring” the alleged bashing.

His charges stem from tapes aired at the public hearings in which he was ‘allegedly’ heard speaking to a suspect who was later ‘allegedly’ beaten with a telephone after asking to make a call.

On the tape, Rankin ‘allegedly’ said: “I suggest you listen to some of the advice the boys are going to give you. It might be a lot less painful and a lot easier for you, all right?”

Rankin was appointed by force command to reform the controversial armed offenders squad, which was disbanded by Ms Nixon shortly before the public hearings.

The other three former squad members have been charged with a total of 23 counts of unlawful assault.

(Source: The Age)

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