Injured Pc’s vest had shoe mark on it, Sheku Bayoh inquiry told

·5-min read
Sheku Bayoh (Handout/PA) (PA Media)
Sheku Bayoh (Handout/PA) (PA Media)

A Scottish Police Federation representative has told an inquiry into the death of a man after he was detained by officers that she saw a mark on a Pc’s vest which appeared as if it was “roughly the shape of a shoe”.

Pc Amanda Givan was giving evidence to the Sheku Bayoh Inquiry in Tuesday, which is investigating the death of the 31-year-old after he was restrained by nine police officers in Kirkcaldy on May 3 2015.

The inquiry had previously been told that Mr Bayoh had punched and stamped on Pc Nicole Short during the incident.

Pc Givan, as member of the Scottish Police Federation, attended Kirkcaldy Police Station after the officers were sent back and Mr Bayoh taken to hospital as paramedics fought to save his life.

The Pc told inquiry counsel Angela Grahame QC that officers were “all really anxious” and “worried” when they were sat in the canteen waiting for more information.

Pc Amanda Givan at the Sheku Bayoh inquiry (Sheku Bayoh Inquiry)
Pc Amanda Givan at the Sheku Bayoh inquiry (Sheku Bayoh Inquiry)

The inquiry has previously heard from Pcs Ashley Tomlinson and Craig Walker that after Mr Bayoh punched their colleague Pc Short, he then stamped on her.

Pc Short was taken to hospital, but later returned to the station where Pc Givan said in her inquiry statement she saw what “looked like a dirty mark” on her vest.

“If I’m being asked to speculate, it looked like it was roughly the shape of a shoe mark,” the statement said.

“Albeit you couldn’t see specific tread detail, but it looked to be roughly the size and shape. It was a kind of long, thin mark, roughly the shape of a shoe.”

She (Pc Short) appeared to have discomfort in her upper body which is why she was moving the way I thought she was moving

Amanda Givan

She added: “I made the presumption that perhaps it had been caused when she was injured, and that she had perhaps been kicked or stood on.”

In her statement, Pc Givan said the only conversation she had with Pc Short about it was “to make sure she identified the mark to them”, and told the inquiry she did not remember how or when it was noticed on her vest.

Mr Bayoh’s family have said they believe his race is played a part in his treatment, but officers involved in his arrest in Kirkcaldy’s Hayfield Road have denied this.

Pc Givan told Ms Grahame that Pc Short had been suffering from “discomfort” after the incident.

“When Nicole arrived back, my recollection is that if she was going to speak to someone she entirely moved her body from her waist. She didn’t turn her head, she turned her entire body,” Pc Givan said.

“She appeared to have discomfort in her upper body which is why she was moving the way I thought she was moving.”

The witness added that Pc Short appeared to be avoiding moving her neck.

Pc Givan said when she arrived at the police station it appeared that nobody was in charge of the situation, and that people were coming in and out of the canteen where the officers sat, with no control in place.

The inquiry, chaired by Lord Bracadale, heard she had advised them not to speak about the case to each other, but their formal warning did not take place until mid-morning. She said she did not believe it had been given before she arrived.

Pc Givan, who has been an officer for almost 30 years and will retire from Police Scotland on Friday, said she advised police officers at the point they were asked to give statements to establish whether they were a witness or a suspect and, if the information had not been given, to not give statements.

Within a few days of the incident, most of the officers met at the police station where Pc Givan said they learned the post-mortem examination had been completed and allowed senior staff to check on the welfare of those involved.

She was also asked about the diversity training she had, both before and after the incident, and the racial composition of both Police Scotland and the federation.

Pc Givan was questioned if she had ever heard racism within the police, to which she said she had not, and when asked what she would do if she did hear racist language or jokes from officers, she told the inquiry she would challenge it.

“I joined the police in 1992, I am very aware that we are not all treated equally,” she said.

“When I joined the police, policewomen were not issued with trousers, we wore skirts and a handbag, so I’m very aware not everyone has always been treated fairly.

“I wouldn’t sit back and not challenge something I believe is wrong or is racist, or homophobic, or sexist, I would absolutely speak my mind.”

She was also asked about a tweet from Calum Steele, the general secretary of the federation.

Ms Grahame said it was “a matter of public knowledge” he was “involved in potential misconduct proceedings from Police Scotland in relation to tweets connected with this inquiry and the events in Hayfield Road on May 3”.

Pc Givan told the inquiry: “Calum was tweeting as an individual. He wasn’t tweeting from the SPF account. I don’t remember being part of any discussion about that.”

The inquiry continues.

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