The family of Sheku Bayoh,who died in police custody three and a half years ago, have said they feel "totally betrayed and devastated" after the Lord Advocate decided not to prosecute any of the nine officers they believe were involved in his death.

Mr Bayoh died on May 3rd 2015, after being restrained by up to five police officers who were responding to a call about a man behaving erratically in Kirkcaldy.

At a meeting with Mr Bayoh's relatives yesterday, the Lord Advocate James Wolff QC updated the family on the status of the case. He is understood to have told them none of the officers will face charges relating to the death of the 31 year old father-of-one.

The family's lawyer Aamer Anwar called for a public inquiry and said the family had lost faith in all the key agencies involved. He said they would demand the decision is reviewed and vigorously pursue a civil claim already lodged against Police Scotland.

Speaking on behalf of Mr Bayoh's sisters Kadijatu Johnson and Adama Jalloh, said "The dead cannot cry out for justice, but the living have a duty to do so for them."

He added: "Today the family is devastated and feel nothing but a total betrayal by the Lord Advocate's decision. Sheku's family believe they have been failed by those who have a duty to protect the public and uphold the rule of law".

"Each institution, from Police Scotland, the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC), and now the Crown Office have failed to hold to account those responsible for the death of Sheku Bayoh."

"The Lord Advocate has failed to provide or disclose a reasonable explanation for why it was determined there should be no criminal charges. They appeared to have simply accepted the police version of events."

The Crown Office did not confirm that no prosecutions will take place, and would only say that a meeting had taken place with the family.

This is because the Lord Advocate's decision could yet be overturned if the family take up the right have it reviewed by a fresh prosecutor. As the family seem likely to lodge a Victim's Right to Review (VRR) claim, the possibility of charges remains open.

The  investigation of Mr Bayoh's death was carried out by PIRC, with the police watchdog submitting two report to the Procurator Fiscal, the first time in 2015 and a final report in 2016. As the Crown Office has had both reports for at least for two years, questions have been raised about the speed of the process.

A spokesman for the Crown Office said: "This has been a complex investigation and COPFS appreciates it has been a difficult time for Mr Bayoh's family and for all those involved.

"The Crown has conducted this investigation with professionalism, integrity and respect."

One way or another, the Crown would see that the full facts emerge, he said. "It is committed to ensuring that the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of Sheku Bayoh are fully aired in an appropriate legal forum and to that end, it has discussed possible next steps with a small number of colleagues in the justice system.

"In order to protect any potential proceedings and to preserve the rights of the family, the Crown will not comment further at this stage."

Should no prosecutions take place, the Crown has said a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) will be held. These are mandatory in cases where there is a death in police custody – unless superceded by a court case or public inquiry.

However Mr Anwar said an FAI would be unacceptable to Mr Bayoh's family. "They will accept nothing less than a public inquiry from the Scottish Government, an FAI would be another betrayal and would do nothing to bring about real change, accountability and justice," he said.

The family claims that police used excessive force and acted recklessly in attempting to restrain Mr Bayoh, a trainee gas engineer, and that officers with a combined weight "in excess of 60 stones" knelt or sat on his upper back. They had responded to reports of a man behaving erratically and wielding a knife. Mr Bayoh had taken ecstasy and a novel psychoactive substance known as Flakka, or Alpha PVP.

Mr Bayoh's relatives claim he had numerous injuries by the time he died as a result of the combined effects of the drugs he had taken and the effects of asphyxia which they say was caused by the police restraint.

Mr Anwar said the family did not dispute that the police had a right to act if Mr Bayoh had broken the law, but any force used had to be legitimate, reasonable and proportionate. He said the police had told Mr Bayoh's partner Colette "lie after lie" in the hours following his death and there was evidence of attempts to pervert the course of justice.

Mr Sheku’s sister Kadi Johnson said the family had been failed. She said: “We have left this office very disappointed and disgusted. My brother Skeku has died, and yet the police get to walk free.

“The justice system has failed us as a family, as well as his two boys Isaac and Tyler.” She was too upset to speak further.

Deborah Coles, director of deaths in custody campaign group Inquest, said the decision was “sadly predictable”.

She said there was a “historical unwillingness” to prosecute police, adding: “I think the family quite rightly feel failed by the system.

“I think it’s also absolutely disgraceful that it has taken three years to get to this position.

“This family are grieving. It has caused immense emotional and physical turmoil for the family, and all they want is the truth about how Sheku died.”

She said Inquest fully supported the call for a public inquiry, and said the issue of race was “particularly relevant here”.

A spokesperson for the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) said: “We note the decision by the COPFS today.”