Retiral verdict on officers in Sheku case

PC Nicole Short (Pic: George McLuskie)
PC Nicole Short (Pic: George McLuskie)

Two police officers who were part of an emergency response to Sheku Bayoh, who later died controversially in custody, have won their fight to retire early on medical grounds.

Nicole Short and Alan Paton took their case to the Court of Session after their employers, the Scottish Police Authority, refused them permission to stand down.

Sheku Bayoh.

Sheku Bayoh.

On Tuesday, Lord Woolman ordered the SPA to re-think – and, just days later, it sanctioned their retirement.

It’s the latest development in the long-running investigation in to the death of Mr Bayoh.

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He died after being restrained by officers in a Kirkcaldy street in May, 2015, and his family has campaigned for justice – and answers – since then.

The retiral move was welcomed by the officers’ trade union, the Scottish Police Federation.

Confirming the decision, David Kennedy, deputy general secretary said: “We welcome the decision by the SPA which makes clear these officers suffered significant injury in the execution of their duties and qualify to retire on grounds of ill-health.

“We continue to support all officers involved in these tragic events and hope that a date for a Fatal Accident Inquiry or a public inquiry is set so that all the facts can be judicially determined.”

Mr Watson added: “The Scottish Police Authority undertook to follow the directions of the court which required it to re-examine its decision within 30 days.

“In fairness to the SPA, it dealt with that quickly and as at 5pm on Thursday, I was advised that the decision had been made to grant ill health retirement.

“This is a great relief to the officers concerned, both of whom continue to suffer serious ill health issues and will have no quick recovery time ahead of them.”
Mr Kennedy said the federation was now anxious to “get to a judicial enquiry as quickly as possible for the interests of everyone, including Mr Bayoh’s family - and to officers.”
He added: ““What has to be remembered is that during this period of time, because they are serving officers, they have not been able to make any public comment or to engage or respond to a constant stream of media comments.”

Aamer Anwar,lawyer for the Bayoh family, said: “This decision, ultimately, means these officers can’t be subject to potential misconduct hearings or disciplinary action.”