CALL FOR MORE POWERS TO INVESTIGATE DEATHS IN POLICE CUSTODY

The Independent/Green Group in the Scottish Parliament has called on the Scottish Government to review the powers available to the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) in response to concerns raised in the Sheku Bayoh case.

It is understood that the Commissioner had become frustrated in the investigation of Mr Bayoh’s death after the police officers involved with the case were told not to give operational statements. As PIRC has been directed by the Crown to investigate in the case of Mr Bayoh it cannot compel Police Officers to provide statements. Had PIRC been instructed by the Chief Constable or the Scottish Police Authority however, it would have been able to compel Police Officers to give a statement.

Independent MSP John Finnie said:

“On behalf of the Independent/Green Group of MSPs, I have written to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to ask that he examines the gap in the legislation that hinders PIRC’s ability to investigate matters in a timely manner.

“It is vital that we have a full confidence in the investigations that PIRC carry out and to have a less robust system depending on where PIRC is receiving its authority to investigate is not satisfactory. I trust that the Cabinet Secretary for Justice will give the issue his full consideration, regardless of the outcome of PIRC’s on-going investigation.”

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