Family of Raheem Bailey "overwhelmingly disappointed" by police's decision to take no further action
The mother of Raheem Bailey has made a statement in reaction to Gwent Police announcing that they will take no further action in relation to an incident which resulted in Raheem, who was 11 years old at the time, having one of his fingers amputated. Blaenau Gwent council have also announced that they will conduct an independent inquiry into the incident.
Posted on 12 February 2023
Raheem’s mother Shantal Bailey, said in response to the police and council statements:
“I am overwhelmingly disappointed by the police’s decision to take no further action in Raheem’s case. Although the police had indicated to me that this was the likely outcome, I feel that their statement makes it clear that they have taken at face value all other versions of events other than Raheem’s. Yet he is the victim in this and has been left with a life-changing injury. My son is still traumatised by what happened to him and has a permanent physical reminder of the torment he suffered that day. The events of that day followed a sustained campaign of bullying at the school over the preceding months and a previous experience that had taught him that reporting to a teacher would not make a difference. To state that no others were involved in what happened to Raheem is a complete insult and the police’s point about him leaving the school of his own accord is irrelevant. It has never been in question that Raheem chose to leave the school, however, he did this in a state of sheer panic and despair, which left him feeling as if he had no option other than to leave the school ground by any means necessary. It is the altercation that caused him to flee the school in terror, and how he was allowed to do so unchecked and unchallenged by any responsible adult, that need to be addressed. While I welcome the announcement from Blaenau Gwent Council that they will be conducting an independent inquiry I am disgusted that they didn’t take the time to inform me directly and instead I have heard it from the press.”
Frances Swaine, solicitor from law firm Leigh Day, representing Raheem’s family, added:
“We echo our client’s disappointment, not only with the conclusion arrived at by the police but by the way they have chosen to communicate this, which seems to lay any blame with Raheem and exonerate all others. The altercation that led to him leaving school should be re-examined. Raheem had been reporting the bullying he had suffered for months but he felt that nothing was done by the school to help him. We will be supporting Shantal in making a complaint to the IOPC regarding the police’s handling of this incident and we are also investigating a civil legal claim against Abertillery Learning Community for negligence. While the council’s promise of an independent inquiry is welcome, it is appalling that this was announced to the press before the family themselves were consulted. It is crucial that any inquiry allows Shantal and Raheem to be fully involved.”