Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Sheku Bayoh police officers will be allowed to retire

Sheku Bayoh
Image caption Mr Bayoh died in 2015 after being restrained by police in Kirkcaldy

Two police officers involved in the Sheku Bayoh case are to be allowed to retire on medical grounds.

The Scottish Police Authority was told to reconsider its decision to block the move until it was known if the officers would face criminal charges.

Now it has been revealed PC Alan Paton and PC Nicole Short, who took their case to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, will be able to step down.

Mr Bayoh, 31, died in 2015 after being restrained by police in Kirkcaldy.

Both PC Short, who has nine years' service, and PC Paton, who has served for 17 years, have been on long-term sick leave since Mr Bayoh's death and had asked to retire.

Lord Woolman ruled the SPA reasons for blocking the officers' retirement "do not add up".

The Scottish Police Federation, which represents the two officers, welcomed the fresh decision by the SPA.

Image copyright Bayoh family
Image caption Mr Bayoh, pictured with his two sons, was originally from Sierra Leone but had lived in Scotland since he was 17

It said it made clear "these officers suffered significant injury in the execution of their duties and qualify to retire on grounds of ill-health".

Deputy general secretary David Kennedy said: "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."

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Police Authority said they had reviewed the decision as instructed by Lord Woolman but were unable to comment further at this stage.

The solicitor acting on behalf of Mr Bayoh's family and partner criticised the SPA decision which "ultimately means that these officers cannot be subject to potential misconduct hearings or disciplinary action".

'Smears and lies'

Lawyer Aamer Anwar added: "In four years the family have been told to keep quiet so as not to prejudice a potential prosecution whilst Sheku has been subjected to smears, lies and racial stereotypes. The dead cannot answer back, but Sheku's family will for him.

"The family are angry and disgusted at the painting of racial stereotypes of a 'black crazed' male with 'bulging muscles.'

"There is no mention of the fact that within 30 seconds of four police officers arriving, Sheku was face down on the ground never to get up again. Nor is there mention that he never brandished a knife at the officers, or that one was never found upon him.

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Media captionThe BBC Disclosure programme features previously unseen footage

"It is disappointing that the Scottish Police Federation, as serving police officers, fail to mention that the Crown are still considering whether there is to be criminal prosecutions."

Evidence uncovered by BBC Scotland has previously raised fresh questions about the way police officers treated Mr Bayoh before he died in their custody.

But the officers involved have always denied any wrongdoing.

Lord Woolman revealed that a medical assessment of PC Short, 32, concluded she was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, as well as being "permanently disabled from undertaking the ordinary duties of a police officer".

PC Paton, 44, has received extensive psychological counselling and a psychiatrist supported his retirement on medical grounds.

CCTV, other footage and documents obtained by the BBC has previously casts doubt on some of the officers' accounts of the events that led to Mr Bayoh's death.

The investigation included evidence that the first officers on scene escalated the situation instead of trying to defuse it, and evidence that Mr Bayoh's actions were exaggerated in official police documents.

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