A police officer at the centre of the Sheku Bayoh custody death probe has been given a round-the-clock personal patrol by his colleagues.
Neighbours of PC Alan Paton say they are fed up with the frequent presence of marked squad cars in their quiet cul-de-sac.
They claim uniformed officers drive into the street up to four times a day amid safety concerns over Paton, who has also faced claims he is a racist.
The 44-year-old is one of nine officers who restrained Sheku, 31, during an arrest three years ago.
Dad-of-two Sheku died following the incident and Paton has been on paid leave since the tragedy in May 2015.
The Sunday Mail observed three uniformed patrols drive into Paton’s cul-de-sac in Kirkcaldy last Wednesday.
On each occasion, the vehicle entered the estate and drove slowly down the road where Paton lives before exiting two minutes later.
The first patrol arrived at 12.35pm and further checks took place at 4pm and 8.45pm.
The next day, a uniformed officer approached our reporter and asked him to leave the area.
We told earlier this year how Paton has been paid to remain at home while the inquiry into the death continued.
Neighbours in the estate questioned the purpose of the regular police presence in the low-crime area, while Labour MSP Claire Baker and the Bayoh family’s lawyer Aamer Anwar also demanded answers.
Sheku Bayoh’s family with solicitor Aamer Anwar who has also demanded answers into his death
One resident, who asked not to be named, said: “I live near his house and there are marked cars driving by four or five times a day, every day.People are fed up. I’m one of them.
“This is a quiet cul-de-sac and the only reason police are here is to check on his house.
“As far as I now, there has never been any crime there so what exactly is it they are looking for?”
MSP Baker, whose Fife constituency includes the area, said: “The police have a duty to protect all citizens and any increased activity must be as a result of robust intelligence.
“Continued checks on one officer’s address every few hours will raise questions about appropriate use of police resources. These must be answered.”
Solicitor Anwar said: “It’s been three years since Sheku’s death and Mr Paton remains off work on full pay.
“Sheku’s loved ones are still fighting for answers about how their son, brother or partner died and are disgusted that, while they struggle with life on a daily basis, Mr Paton would appear to have round-the-clock police protection.
“I think people quite rightly would ask why he needs such protection, how much this is costing Police Scotland and would patrols not be better doing more useful work?”
A police car patrolling the area where Alan Paton lives (Image: UGC)
Following Sheku’s death, Paton’s brother-in-law Barry Swan contacted his family to claim the officer was a racist and once assaulted his own parents.
Swan claimed the officer once said: “I’m a total racist – I hate all blacks”.
Paton has denied the claims.
Three years and five months after Sheku’s death, Lord Advocate James Wolffe met his sisters Kadi and
Adama on October 3 and informed them no one would be charged over his death.
Kadi said the family felt “betrayed” by the Crown Office decision not to prosecute Police Scotland or any of the officers involved in the death.
She said: “It’s ridiculous that police officers are being paid to be off all this time. We’re still hurting.”
Sheku was detained by police responding to reports of a man carrying a knife. No knife was found at the scene.
Officers used CS spray, pepper spray and batons to restrain Sheku and he lost consciousness. He was pronounced dead in Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital, about half a mile away, less than two hours after coming into contact with police.
The Sunday Mail’s front page coverage over Sheku Bayoh’s family’s fight for justice (Image: Sunday Mail)
A female officer, PC Nicole Short, was injured during the incident.
She was treated in hospital and released around the same time as Sheku was pronounced dead.
PCs Paton and Short remain on paid leave but it is understood there is little chance of either returning to police work.
Sheku was found to have more than 20 facial cuts and bruises, petechial haemorrhages – a sign of asphyxiation – in his eyes, a fractured rib and grazing on his chest.
The post-mortem report also found the drugs ecstasy and alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone (Flakka) in Sheku’s system.
His family have the right to ask for a review of the decision not to prosecute anyone – although Anwar described this as a “box-ticking” exercise.
The family are pursuing a £1.85million damages case against Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone and are pushing for a public inquiry.
A fatal accident inquiry will be held into the case, as with all deaths in police custody.
The Crown Office said: “We are committed to ensuring that the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of Sheku Bayoh are fully aired in an appropriate legal forum.
“In order to protect any potential proceedings and to preserve the rights of the family, the Crown will not comment further at this stage.”
Police said they were unable to comment on the patrols.
Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor said: “Our thoughts remain with Sheku Bayoh’s family and friends following his death three years ago and we continue to offer support to anyone affected by this tragic incident.
“Police Scotland have been committed to cooperating with the PIRC and the Crown Office throughout this process and, while this continues, we cannot comment further.”