Officer had no recent equality and diversity training, Sheku Bayoh Inquiry hears

Pc Alan Smith claimed he had not received any recent equality and diversity training, the inquiry into Sheku Bayoh’s death heard on Friday.

27 May 2022

A police officer claimed he had not received any equality and diversity training since the start of his career 17 years ago, the inquiry into Sheku Bayoh’s death heard on Friday.

Pc Alan Smith continued to give evidence to the Inquiry in Edinburgh in the afternoon where he told the hearing he had not attended any training around matters relating to race since his initial police education at Tulliallan Police College in Kincardine, Fife.

The inquiry is investigating the circumstances surrounding Mr Bayoh’s death in police custody on May 3 2015.

Mr Bayoh had been restrained by police officers and was pronounced dead in hospital shortly afterwards.

Sheku Bayoh inquiry
Sheku Bayoh (Family/PA)

Angela Grahame QC, senior counsel to the inquiry asked Pc Smith if he had undertaken any training around issues of equality and diversity.

She asked: “You are an Operational Standards Trainer.

“You’ve had a lot of training yourself and you have been trained to become a trainer.

“Have you received training in relation to race yourself?”

He replied: “Under the OST training? No.

Sheku Bayoh inquiry
Pc Alan Smith (right) arrives at Capital House in Edinburgh for the public inquiry into Sheku Bayoh’s death (Jane Barlow/PA)

Ms Grahame said: “It sounded like you were going to say you had training.

“How did you access that other training?”

Pc Smith replied: “It’s the first week of training at the Scottish police college when you join the police service.”

Ms Grahame asked: “Any other types of training in relation to equality and diversity that you have had?”

Pc Smith replied: “Not that I can recall.”

Pc Smith was then asked if that had been prior to 2015 or to date, to which he replied: “To date, I think.”

Ms Grahame then asked the officer if he could remember the training he received and if he implements it into his every day practice.

Pc Smith said: “Not every detail but I can remember receiving it.

“I think broadly, in respect to these things, you try and treat everybody fairly and not treat them differently

“Absolutely we implement it into daily practice.

“I would like to think I was doing that prior to being trained at Tulliallan in any case.”

The officer was also asked about racism within the force at the time and what would happen if officers displayed that kind of behaviour.

Sheku Bayoh inquiry
Pc Alan Smith (right) arrives at Capital House in Edinburgh for the public inquiry into Sheku Bayoh’s death (Jane Barlow/PA)

Pc Smith said “it would depend on the circumstances” but officers could give advice or report it up line management.

Prior to this, the inquiry heard that Pc Smith had not completed his notebook relating to the events leading to the death of Mr Bayoh.

He confirmed he had received legal advice not to complete the notebook.

Pc Smith also told the inquiry that officers had been told not to discuss the events of Sunday May 3 with anyone else and had been held in the canteen at Kirkcaldy Police Station for the remainder of their shift.

Ms Grahame asked Pc Smith about the circumstances concerning Mr Bayoh’s transfer to Victoria Hospital.

It was put to Pc Smith that Mr Bayoh was still in restraints when he was inside the ambulance.

Ms Grahame asked Pc Smith why the restraints had not been removed when the officers became aware Mr Bayoh had lost consciousness.

Pc Smith said: “Because somebody is unconscious or apparently unconscious does not necessarily diminish the risk they pose.

“People can make a sudden recovery and continue with the behaviour they had before.

“People can feign unconsciousness which absolutely happens and can attack police officers.”

Earlier in the inquiry, Police Scotland’s chief constable committed the force to being an anti-racist organisation.

The inquiry, before Lord Bracadale, continues.

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