Presumption of racism is an insult to police officers
The death of any person in police custody will always be a matter of public interest. Recent public statements, however, would suggest that public interest is less of a consideration than public opinion, and a drive to respond to inference before dealing with evidence. In the Scottish parliament last Tuesday Humza Yousaf, the cabinet secretary for justice, spoke about Sheku Bayoh, who died in custody. “Sheku was roughly my age, he was a Muslim just like me, he was a minority living in Scotland, much like I am,” Mr Yousaf said. “There are some fundamental questions that have to be asked, not just around events leading up to his death, but frankly some of the processes that took place afterwards.”
Drones that can see from 150 meters high used in Scotland to find missing persons
The Scottish police are starting to use a new drone system integrated with artificial intelligence, called the Remote Control Aircraft System (RPAS), to detect a person by facial recognition from a distance of up to 150 meters. The system, equipped with advanced cameras and neural computer networks, can actually identify a person, including movement, by recognizing facial features and comparing them with images in a database.
Are domestic abuse victims more likely to be helped in England than Scotland?
Police in Scotland are not being given proper guidance to identify victims of psychological abuse inflicted by their partners, according to campaigners. Legislation outlawing coercive control was brought in last year but experts claim Police Scotland has not adopted a series of questions used in England to identify victims. The series of questions currently used are based on a Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment (DASH) risk assessment developed in 2009. The DASH questions are used to identify vulnerable victims of domestic abuse when they report the crimes.
Scottish Government reported for failure to answer questions on numbers of police mental health staff
The Scottish Government has been reported to the Information Commissioner over its refusal to say how many new mental health support staff the police will be given. Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Willie Rennie, has referred the government after the First Minister was unable to explain why Police Scotland had received just 7.5 extra staff over two years, despite being promised more. Mr Rennie raised the issue at last week’s First Minister’s Questions, highlighting how Police Scotland was promised a share of 800 new staff under the 2017 mental health strategy but that statistics now show the national force has only received 7.5 extra mental health workers.
Smina Akhtar: Sheku Bayoh investigation was not fit for purpose
When the Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, announced that there would be a full public inquiry into the death of Sheku Bayoh he said ‘‘it must address the question of whether or not Mr Bayoh’s race played a part in how the incident was approached and dealt with by the police’’. Furthermore, the membership of the Inquiry will have the “necessary diversity of expertise and background”. Humza Yousaf has made a stand against racism and we welcome that.
‘Our brother shouldn’t have died like this,’ say Sheku Bayoh’s family
It’s been four and a half years since Sheku Bayoh died in Scottish police custody and now, for the first time, his family is allowing itself to hope they will get some answers. “My brother was a much-loved father and family man and a well-liked member of his community,” said Kadijatu Johnson, Bayoh’s sister. “He didn’t deserve to die like this, and we as a family deserved better than to be treated in the way that we have been.” Last week, after Scotland’s lord advocate confirmed that no charges would be brought against any of the nine police officers the family believe were involved, the Scottish government announced a rare, judge-led public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Bayoh’s death. A 31-year-old trainee gas engineer and father-of-two with no previous history of violence, Bayoh had arrived in Scotland from Sierra Leone as a young teenager and had moved to Kirkcaldy in Fife to live with his sister. On 3 May, 2015, he died after being restrained by police officers in his hometown.
Saturday Journal: It’d be nice to think race was not a factor in Sheku’s death
But when she began her ill-fated tenure at 10 Downing Street she said something that will echo horribly in at least one Kirkcaldy household: “If you’re black, you’re treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you’re white.” Sheku Bayoh was 31 years old when he died in police custody after being restrained by officers in 2015. Officers responding to a report of a dangerously out-of-control man descended en masse, with six officers using batons and CS spray to knock him to the ground and subdue him. He died in custody some 90 minutes later after sustaining a catalogue of injuries, including head wounds, a fractured rib and facial injuries.
‘What are your priorities?’ Police ask Highlanders
People living in the Highlands are being asked to tell the police about their priorities. The Highlands and Islands division of Police Scotland is joining the force in asking people in the area to have their say about what most important to them. A message flagging up an online survey states: “We’d like to know what issues you think we should prioritise, how you feel about policing in your local area and how you’d like us to communicate with you. Your views are important to us. We’ll use this information to help shape our priorities over the next three years. Local policing is at the very heart of Police Scotland. Highland and Islands Division is committed to listening to you and ensuring we continue to provide a high standard of service to our communities.”