THE policewoman at the centre of a case involving the death of a man in custody is facing criminal proceedings over alleged data protection breaches.


Nicole Short, who is said to have been attacked by Sheku Bayoh before he died in police custody, is due to appear in court in August to face three allegations under the Data Protection Act.

The 29-year-old constable is accused of illegally accessing confidential information on the Police Scotland computer system in October 2012.

She is the officer who the Police Federation claim "feared for her life" as she was attacked by Mr Bayoh in an incident in Kirkcaldy on May 3.

Mr Bayoh, 31, collapsed and died after being restrained by several officers who were following up reports of a suspect wielding a knife.

The father-of-two's family - who say they received differing stories on how he died following the incident - and his partner Colette have been campaigning for answers.

The case is currently being investigated by police watchdog, the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC), however calls have been made for a review of its powers in light of Mr Bayoh's case.

Solicitor Aamer Anwar, who represents Mr Bayoh's relatives, said: "The Bayoh family have been advised and have requested the PIRC to enquire into the background of all nine police officers who dealt with Sheku Bayoh on the day he died.

"It would be inappropriate to comment on Constable Short's legal proceedings."

The Police Federation, the body which represents officers, also refused to comment on Ms Short's case.

Chief Superintendent Ellie Mitchell, Professional Standards, said: "Police Scotland cannot comment as it is inappropriate to do so."

The Scottish Parliament Independent and Green Group has urged the government to look at the PIRC's power to compel police officers to provide statements following concerns over delays in officers speaking to investigators in this case.

Independent MSP John Finnie said: "On behalf of the Independent/Green Group of MSPs, I have written to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to ask that he examines the gap in the legislation that hinders PIRC's ability to investigate matters in a timely manner.

"It is vital that we have a full confidence in the investigations that PIRC carry out and to have a less robust system depending on where PIRC is receiving its authority to investigate is not satisfactory.

"I trust that the Cabinet Secretary for Justice will give the issue his full consideration, regardless of the outcome of PIRC's ongoing investigation."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said the government believes the PIRC's powers are sufficient, adding: "The Scottish Government cannot comment on individual cases or ongoing investigations by the PIRC, which is under the direction of the Crown."