G4S releases statement on Mater Dei car park incident
G4S Security, operator of the public car park within the precincts of Mater Dei Hospital (MDH), refers to an incident that occurred on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in which a vehicle caught fire. This incident was reported in the press.
The facts of the case, in brief, are as follows:
– At around 12.30 p.m., G4S Security staff became aware that a fire alarm had been triggered on one of the underground levels of the car park. The MDH Fire Team was promptly alerted to the emergency, and together with G4S personnel made their way to the place of the incident to control the fire. On reaching the site, it appeared that a vehicle, owned and driven by a private visitor, had caught fire.
– The vehicle was doused with water and with a fire extinguisher, until the fire was controlled. At this point, G4S personnel noted that a person in the car park – who, it later resulted, was a journalist from the Times of Malta – was taking photos of the incident. He was approached and told not to carry on taking photos as this was against hospital policy. This written policy has been circulated among members of the press by MDH management, and has been put in place in order to guarantee the highest levels of privacy for patients and visitors at the hospital.
– The journalist in question, Mr Jason Borg, ignored these instructions and carried on taking photos. He also informed G4S personnel that he had every right to take photos and asked them not to interfere with what he was doing. At a certain point Mr Borg stopped taking photos with his camera, but started recording or taking photos with his mobile phone instead – despite being reminded that he was not authorised to do so.
– The G4S security officer who was dealing with Mr Borg snatched the mobile phone from him, and asked Mr Borg to follow him to the Control Room, where it would be returned to him in the presence of the Police and G4S management.
– On the way out of the car park Mr Borg started stopping vehicles and telling them that security had assaulted him. An acquaintance of the reporter who happened to be using the car park gave the reporter a mobile phone. On seeing this, the G4S security officer returned Mr Borg’s phone to him.
– After leaving the site of the incident, Mr Borg filed a Police Report with Msida Police Station in connection with this incident. Officers from Msida Police Station subsequently arrived on the scene and took statements from the G4S security officers involved. The two G4S security officers were in the meantime suspended from their duties on full pay until an investigation by MDH and G4S was concluded.
– A report finalised yesterday, Wednesday, May 15, by MDH management has found that the two G4S security officers were acting completely in line with established MDH policies and procedures, and recommended that they be reinstated without any disciplinary action.
– G4S is also informed by the management of Times of Malta that Mr Borg has fully withdrawn the criminal complaint filed with the Police yesterday.
G4S wishes to take this opportunity to confirm its commitment to offering security services in public car parks, such as that at Mater Dei Hospital, to the highest standards of professionalism. While regretting the impression that may have been given that the incident took on the form of any sort of assault on a member of the press, it also reiterates its commitment to working with and assisting members of the press, and in guiding them towards the correct working procedures wherever and whenever the need may arise.