Sheku Bayoh family welcome Scottish police chief’s commitment to public inquiry

Sheku Bayoh.
Sheku Bayoh.

The family of a Kirkcaldy man who died in police custody have been encouraged by Police Scotland’s chief constable’s commitment to a public inquiry to ensure lessons are learned.

Relatives of Sheku Bayoh met with Iain Livingstone on Monday and said they were grateful they were treated with compassion and respect.

During the meeting, his mother and sister expressed hope it would result in fundamental change.

The move comes four and a half years since Sheku Bayoh died in police custody

and one month since The Crown Office said no police officers would face criminal charges.

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In a statement released by the family after the meeting, their solicitor Aamer Anwar said a ‘robust discussion’ took place.

He said the family “advised the chief constable of his officers’ failures”, which they claim include not observing legal requirements on the use of lethal force and “unsafe” methods of restraint.

Mr Anwar said: “The Bayoh family are encouraged that the Chief Constable welcomes the setting up of a public inquiry.

“The Chief Constable thanked the Bayoh family for the dignity they have shown and the campaign which has ultimately led to a public inquiry. He assured the family that Police Scotland will co-operate fully with the inquiry to ensure that all lessons are learnt.

“Whilst there will be some areas of disagreement, it is important that Police Scotland recognises there is need for fundamental reform of the procedures, processes and accountability when a death in custody takes place.

“Sadly, the family once again are left deeply disappointed in the Lord Advocate’s failure to refer any of the nine officers to the chief constable for potential disciplinary or misconduct proceedings.”

He continued: “We understand that it is the norm in cases such as this for the Lord Advocate to refer matters where they believe there has been misconduct, breach of regulations and serious concerns arising from post incident management.

“Accordingly, the chief constable was advised a full dossier of alleged misconduct and breaches of regulations will be provided to him directly, whilst the Lord Advocate will be contacted by the family’s representatives asking for a full explanation as to why his organisation has failed yet again to take action.”

Mr Anwar added: “The chief constable promised that they will investigate any allegations of misconduct in what was described as the most serious of circumstances.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “During a meeting with the family of Sheku Bayoh today (Monday, 16 December), Chief Constable Iain Livingstone reiterated his personal condolences, and those of the Service, to the Bayoh family and undertook again that Police Scotland will participate fully in the Public Inquiry which will be established next year.”