Sheku Bayoh Inquiry

CRER is providing input to the Sheku Bayoh Inquiry in considering the role, if any, played by race in his death in custody. We are carrying out this work in our formally designated role as Core Participants.

We announced our involvement in the Inquiry through a public statement on 28th April 2021. From that point onwards, our interventions are being made to the Inquiry and we are not making further public comment at this time.

This page provides an FAQ on the background to the Inquiry and CRER’s involvement.


What is the Sheku Bayoh Inquiry?

Sheku Ahmed Tejan Bayoh died in police custody on 3rd May 2015 in Kirkcaldy, Scotland. Following his family’s long campaign for justice, a Public Inquiry was announced in 2019.

The Terms of Reference for the Public Inquiry into the Death of Sheku Bayoh include establishing the circumstances of his death, making recommendations which might realistically prevent other deaths in similar circumstances, examining post-incident management processes, and:

“to establish the extent (if any) to which the events leading up to and following Mr Bayoh’s death, in particular the actions of the officers involved, were affected by his actual or perceived race and to make recommendations to address any findings in that regard”.

In his statement to the Scottish Parliament on 12 November 2019 confirming the establishment of the Public Inquiry, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf MSP, stated:

“For any independent scrutiny of this case to be rigorous and credible, 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. In saying that, I am not prejudging the answer to that question; that will be for the Inquiry, which will be independent of Ministers. In order to do that, the Inquiry must be equipped with the necessary diversity of expertise and background to scrutinise the extent to which race was a factor in this case.”

Find out more about the Sheku Bayoh Inquiry’s remit, the role of the Chair, Lord Bracadale, and the assessors at the Sheku Bayoh Inquiry Website.


Why is CRER involved in the Sheku Bayoh Inquiry?

CRER agrees that in order for the Inquiry to appropriately and effectively fulfil its terms of reference, stakeholders with specific expertise in this area would be useful in supporting the Inquiry to determine the extent to which race was a factor.

As an anti-racist organisation, CRER has always had a clear focus on tackling institutional and structural racism. We have extensive experience in assessing equality performance and supporting improvement in approaches. Our specialism on racism and race equality, particularly in relation to organisational practice, makes us ideally placed to support organisations to identify and take action on these issues.

This is why we applied to be designated as a Core Participant to the Sheku Bayoh Inquiry. Our application was rigorously assessed, subject to a range of clarifications and considered in fine detail by the Inquiry’s Chair, Lord Bracadale. We were pleased to be informed in April 2021 that our application was successful.


What can CRER do as Core Participants?

A Core Participant is an individual or organisation who has a significant interest in an important aspect of the matters to which the inquiry relates. Inquiry Chairs have to determine who should be a Core Participant in line with the rules set out in the Inquiries (Scotland) Rules 2007.

A Core Participant or their legal representative may participate in the Inquiry in a number of ways, including being able to:

  • Receive disclosure of evidence that relates to their interest in advance of hearings

  • Be invited to contribute suggestions to the list of issues to be considered by the Inquiry and the list of witnesses who will give evidence to the Inquiry

  • Make opening and closing statements at hearings

  • Suggest questions or lines of questioning to Counsel to the Inquiry to ask of a witness

  • With the Chair’s permission, ask questions of witnesses

  • See the Inquiry report or interim report before it is published

The basic cost to CRER of undertaking this work is being reimbursed by the Inquiry. Our other funded work will continue as normal during our involvement in the Inquiry.

In our role as Core Participant, we will strive to ensure that the Inquiry has access to the information and perspectives it needs to assess the role, if any, played by race. Our approach will be evidence based, methodical and robust.


We hope that our integrity and ability to make a positive contribution to the Inquiry will be apparent not just to organisations and individuals concerned with racial justice, but by all relevant parties.


We look forward to working with the Inquiry in fulfilling its terms of reference and in securing justice.