Officers face Sheku Bayoh custody death quiz

Sheku Bayoh: Died in police custody. Picture: Hemedia
Sheku Bayoh: Died in police custody. Picture: Hemedia
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POLICE officers are to be interviewed a month after the death of a man in custody.

Sheku Bayoh, 31, was detained following an incident in Kirkcaldy, Fife, on May 3 and the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) is examining the circumstances of the father-of-two’s death in custody a short time later.

The Scottish Police Federation (SPF) said officers had been responding to a call of a man brandishing a knife and that a female officer was injured during the incident.

Mr Bayoh’s family have questioned why no officers have been suspended while the inquiry takes place and family solicitor Aamer Anwar has criticised the SPF, saying that the officers should have spoken to PIRC immediately after the death.

The SPF said officers have co-operated and will now speak to PIRC after a request today.

Professor Peter Watson, of PBW Law, said: “The comments made by those representing the family of the deceased continue to promote a completely inaccurate and misleading account.

“The officer injured remains off work, has had several hospital visits and is now in rehabilitation.

“An examination by a leading consultant confirms her injuries were significant. The injuries have been documented and photographed.

“The officers involved have never refused to provide statements. It was agreed at the outset with PIRC that they would revert to us when they wanted statements, and when they were clear on the basis that statements were to be given.

“PIRC emailed me this morning at 10.46am asking for our assistance to organise interviews and we answered at 11.29am confirming we would be pleased to assist. Those are the facts.”

Brian Docherty, chairman of the SPF, hit out at Mr Anwar’s criticism.

He said: “Mr Anwar can try to throw whatever mud he wishes but the fact remains that a petite female police officer was violently assaulted by a large male and believed she was going to die as a consequence.

“In directing increasingly hyperbolic, inaccurate and bizarre rhetoric at the Scottish Police Federation, one could be mistaken for believing that Mr Anwar being at the centre of attention appears to be of greater importance than allowing the investigation to proceed without interference.”

Mr Anwar said he did not know what the SPF was referring to.

He said two pathologists have been unable to determine the cause of Mr Bayoh’s death and need information of the method of restraint used.

Mr Bayoh’s funeral is to be held on Sunday in Kirkcaldy.

Mr Anwar said: “The family find it very sad that in the week they will be burying Sheku - without a cause of death established - that the Police Federation are dealing in direct and indirect insults.

“For some four weeks now these officers have not provided information to the PIRC.

“As police so often tell the public, if they have nothing to hide then they have nothing to fear.

“The family have a right to expect answers and so do the public.”