Sheku Bayoh's family and their lawyer Aamer Anwar today met for almost two hours with Chief Constable Stephen House. In a statement read out after the meeting, Aamer Anwar said:
"The Bayoh family welcomed the meeting today with Chief Constable Sir Stephen House. As expected it was a very robust and honest discussion of the serious concerns that the Bayoh family have over the death of Sheku Bayoh a few weeks ago.
The family appreciated the compassion that the chief constable showed them as well as the personal regret he expressed for their ordeal.
The Bayoh family understand the frustrations of the chief constable not being able to speak publicly because of an ongoing Pirc investigation.
The chief constable has assured the family that he would expect Police Scotland to learn any lessons following the completion of the investigation and all legal proceedings.
Today is an important step forward for the Bayoh family. They welcomed the Chief Constable's willingness to deal with the issues they raised despite Mr House having tendered his resignation.
However the Bayoh family wanted assurances from the Chief Constable that when he leaves the promises he made to them are kept by Police Scotland. To that end it was important that two Senior Officers in Police Scotland, Deputy Chief Constable Ian Livingstone and Assistant Chief Constable Ruaraidh Nicolson were also present who have the full confidence of the Bayoh family.
serious allegations of criminality with regard to certain police officers
At the meeting the family reiterated that they could never accept police officers lying to them with several versions of what happened to Sheku Bayoh in the hours following his death in custody. The first version told to Collette was that a member of the public had found Sheku’s body on the street.
The family also raised serious allegations of criminality with regard to certain police officers that cannot be disclosed publicly which we understand are the subject of an investigation.
The family also expressed concern of the right of police officers being able to resign whilst being under serious criminal investigation or misconduct issues.
We understand that last year the UK government introduced legislation in England and Wales that allows the police boards or Chief Constables to refuse the acceptance of such resignations, and the family believes that the Scottish Government should introduce similar legislation in Scotland and that they should liaise with the Chief Constable and Police Scotland to see how to take these issues forward.
It was clear from the meeting with the Chief Constable that it's time for clarity from the Lord Advocate and the Scottish Government on when police officers are required to provide statements, what they provide in their statements in serious issues such as deaths in custody.
serious failings that exist in our justice system
It is clear to the Bayoh family that the death of Sheku Bayoh in police custody has highlighted the serious gaps that are present in our laws dealing with investigations of police officers. It is a matter that Police Scotland are unable to deal with themselves but the time is ripe for the Scottish Government in partnership with all parties, including the Police Federation, to address the serious failings that exist in our justice system.
The Bayoh family accept the Chief Constable’s commitment to co-operate fully with the inquiry ordered by the Lord Advocate and he also confirmed that he will meet with the family again in due course.
The Bayoh family believe that Police Officers must always act as our public servants and not as our masters. They hope that Police Scotland and any successor to Stephen House will take heed of the lessons that need to be learned so that no other family is put through the ordeal that the Bayoh’s have had to endure."