Sheku Bayoh

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 12th November 2019.

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Photo of Anas Sarwar Anas Sarwar Labour

My thoughts are with Sheku Bayoh’s family and friends. I recognise the efforts of their legal team and, in particular, Aamer Anwar, who has relentlessly pursued the case. I also welcome and thank the cabinet secretary for today’s announcement of a public inquiry. Although he is right to say that we cannot definitively say that race was a factor in the case, there is no doubt that there is structural racism in Scotland.

If we are to build confidence between our communities, tone is also really important. Will the cabinet secretary therefore take the opportunity to comment on the rather juvenile comments of the president of the Scottish Police Federation in relation to the case? I understand that he wanted to represent and defend his members, which is—of course—his right. However, at the same time, that cannot be allowed to undermine confidence in the case or the feelings of the Bayoh family or of ethnic minority officers in the police, who may also have challenges around issues of structural racism.