‘Open and transparent...’

Police Scotland Chief Constable Phil Gormley. Picture by George McLuskie.
Police Scotland Chief Constable Phil Gormley. Picture by George McLuskie.

Scotland’s top cop has made a public commitment ensuring an open and transparent approach will given to the Sheku Bayoh investigation.

That’s the reassurance given by Police Scotland’s new chief constable Phil Gormley when he visited staff at the former Fife headquarters in Glenrothes.

The force he took control of in January, replacing under-fire predecessor Sir Stephen House, has faced criticism over its involvement in the death of Kirkcaldy man Sheku Bayoh, and the tragic death of a couple from the Falkirk area, who were left undiscovered for three days after their vehicle ran off the A9 in near Bannockburn.

Bayoh (31), died from suspected asphyxiation on a street in Kirkcaldy in the early hours of May 3 last year. He had been restrained by up to nine police officers and was alleged to have been wielding a knife.

A female police officer was also hurt in the incident in Hayfield Road.

Asked to comment on the two high profile cases Mr Gormley said: “I can guarantee openness and transparency.

“There is a limit to what I can say because there are a range of enquiries ongoing in which we are co-operating with, but there may be learning coming out of those for us and our organisation will approach that with due humility,”

But he warned those incidents didn’t represent the vast majority of events that police were dealing with on every day across Scotland .

“These are significant incidents and we will deal with the outcomes, we will learn the lessons and co-operate with the enquiries,” he said.

“I am not trying in any way to diminish them but I do know the vast majority of the work officers are doing is being very well received in the communities.

“That’s what I’ve seen so far and they are passionate about delivering good quality policing.”

Mr Gormley, who was previously the deputy director of the National Crime Agency and one-time chief constable of Norfolk, has described his new £212,000 a year role as the “pinnacle of his career” and “one of the most demanding jobs in British policing”.

The Bayoh case is currently under investigation by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) - the body for dealing with public complaints and is also to be made subject to a Fatal Accident Inquiry.

However, Aamer Anwar, the family’s legal representative, this week tweeted: “As Lord Advocate awaits PIRC report in2 death of #ShekuBayoh his family calls 4 public inquiry rather than FAI” reinforcing the family’s call for a full public investigation.