Socialist Worker

Janet Alder slams decision on cops who spied on her following her brother’s death

Officers who spied on the sister of Christopher Alder, who died in custody, won’t face charges

Issue No. 2594

Janet Alder was spied on by cops - but they wont face any disciplinary proceedings

Janet Alder was spied on by cops - but they won't face any disciplinary proceedings (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Two cops will face no disciplinary proceedings for spying on the family of Christopher Alder during an inquest into his death in 2000.

Police followed Christopher’s sister Janet and her lawyer after part of the inquest proceedings.

Cops then tried to listen to a conversation the two were having in a car park near to the courtroom.

These facts were agreed by both sides in a gross misconduct hearing that finished on Thursday of last week.

Christopher died on the floor of Queen’s Gardens police station in Hull on 1 April 1998. The 2000 inquest returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

Janet had previously reported that she thought police were following her but no action was taken. She spoke to Socialist Worker about the treatment she has suffered at the hands of the police.

“In 2013 it was confirmed I had been spied on,” she said.

Humberside police initially refused to bring any proceedings but were forced to do so because the two officers involved are still serving.

“The Independent Office for Police Conduct directed them to do it,” explained Janet. “So we’ve got Humberside police both prosecuting and defending their own people.”


The surveillance was found to be not lawful or appropriate and could not be justified.

Despite this the two officers who carried out the surveillance have “no case to answer”. The cops, who were given anonymity, said they did not realise the orders were unlawful.

They said the orders came from further up the chain of command. “The officers were sat behind a screen,” said Janet, who was only given the status of an “interested party” at the hearing.

“I was sat in the middle of the court and had to listen to them portray me as an agitator.”

According to Janet the police gave evidence that people had attended a justice for Christopher Alder demonstration to be disruptive.

“Because I didn’t have any input I couldn’t say anything about that,” she said. “It was made very clear to me that because I wasn’t a victim, I was a witness.”

Janet and her lawyer will formally complain about their treatment.

A number of former senior Humberside officers gave evidence that they had not given the order to spy on Janet and her lawyer. They said they did not know the source of the order.

The hearing was unable to discover the source of the unlawful order. “It’s been established that the order came from higher but no one knows where from,” said Janet.

“It was a dead cert these police officers were going to walk.

“This hearing turned out exactly as I expected it to. I’ve got no confidence in the system doing the right thing.”

Remembering Christopher Alder march, Saturday 31 March, 1pm, Victoria Square, Hull HU1 3DX

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