It is important to recognise unconscious bias and the way to overcome it is to listen to others, a senior police officer has told the Sheku Bayoh inquiry.

Chief Inspector Conrad Trickett was appointed as the post-incident manager after the father-of-two fell unconscious while being arrested and died shortly afterwards.

The inquiry, before Lord Bracadale, is investigating the circumstances of the 31-year-old’s death and whether race was a factor.

Mr Trickett, 51, told the inquiry on his second day of evidence that when the incident occurred, police officers would have been aware of the Equality Act.

The Act came into force five years previously, and put legal duties on those with protected characteristics like race and gender.

Mr Trickett told Angela Grahame KC, senior counsel to the inquiry, that part of police training now includes looking at unconscious bias.

READ MORE: Police could have been ‘more honest’ with Sheku Bayoh death message – inquiry

Saying society as a whole has unconscious bias, he explained: “Everyone has unconscious bias and actually there are some really simple questions you ask yourself – so you walk on to a plane and the pilot says ‘hello’ to you, tell me what gender the pilot was? What did the pilot look like? And then straight away your unconscious bias comes because the majority of people will say it was a white male.”

Mr Trickett, who has 24 years’ of police service, said people need to recognise unconscious bias exists and how it impacts on them and their opinions.

“The way to overcome unconscious bias is to listen to other opinions,” he said.

“I might be in a situation and might form an opinion of that situation, I might not realise it’s unconscious bias that I’m forming opinion of that situation, I feel that’s my professional judgment forming that opinion.

“That’s why you need to triangulate that by listening to someone else, to taking an alternative perspective, and then you suddenly realise that how you were observing something, your judgment on something, is merely your judgment on something.”

READ MORE: Scots bus routes face cuts and fare hikes as support is slashed

He told the inquiry every person has a different unconscious bias, and by putting the problem into a group and listening to the different perspectives you will “overcome unconscious bias through that engagement and diverse thinking”.

Mr Bayoh was detained by up to six police officers in the morning of May 3, 2015 and stopped breathing. He was pronounced dead in hospital shortly after.

Officers had been sent to the scene after reports to 999 call-handlers that a man had been carrying a knife and attacking vehicles.

When officers arrived at the Hayfield Road scene, the inquiry heard, they rapidly deployed their incapacitant sprays on the trainee gas engineer.

The inquiry continues.