Calls made for independent inquiry into police custody deaths

In Scotland, the family of Sheku Bayoh are still awaiting answers after his death in custody in 2015. Picture: TSPL
In Scotland, the family of Sheku Bayoh are still awaiting answers after his death in custody in 2015. Picture: TSPL
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A CALL has been made for an independent inquiry into the deaths of people in police custody.

Scottish Labour Justice spokeswoman Claire Baker has written to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon calling for the investigation.

It follows a similar move in England and Wales by Dame Elish Angiolini QC, which has demanded sweeping reforms to the police and justice system south of the border.

In Scotland, the family of Sheku Bayoh are still awaiting answers after his death in custody in 2015.

Ms Baker said: “As Sheku Bayoh’s case shows, we face a number of the same challenges that prompted a similar review in England and Wales. We face being left behind if we do not set in motion our own inquiry.

“Two and a half years after the death of Sheku Bayoh, his family are still waiting for answers. We need to do all we can to ensure that other families don’t face this heartache.

• READ MORE: Sheku Bayoh’s family pledge to ‘keep fighting for answers’

“That is why the First Minister must set up a separate Scottish inquiry now.”

Dame Elish’s review said specialist ‘’drying out’’ centres could be created to hold people who are detained while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

It also recommended the introduction of CCTV in police vans to allow monitoring of restrained detainees.

Mr Bayoh died after being restrained by officers responding to a call in Kirkcaldy, Fife, on May 3 2015.

The 31-year-old trainee gas engineer was under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident.

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner submitted a report into the incident to the Crown Office in August last year.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Any death in custody in Scotland is treated very seriously. We will study this comprehensive report by Dame Elish Angiolini carefully and determine whether there is any further action that should be taken here in Scotland.”