Humberside Police officers cleared of unauthorised spying

Janet Alder
Image caption Two officers were accused of carrying out unauthorised surveillance on Janet Alder (pictured) and her barrister

Two police officers have been cleared of the unauthorised surveillance of the sister of a man who died in police custody.

Janet Alder was followed by a team from Humberside Police during the inquest into her brother's death.

Former paratrooper Christopher Alder, 37, died in Hull in 1998. An inquest found he died unlawfully.

The two officers faced gross misconduct charges at a police tribunal.

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The officers, who have not been named and are referred to only as officer one and two, were accused of carrying out surveillance on Ms Alder and her barrister Leslie Thomas QC "without appropriate authorisation and justification" during the coroner's inquest held in 2000.

The tribunal, sitting in Goole, East Yorkshire, was told by lawyers representing the two officers that they acted on the instructions of a more senior officer.

'Lawful orders'

Sam Green QC, for officer two, said his client was also "at a loss to know what he was supposed to do once instructed to carry out highly sensitive surveillance".

He said: "He believed he was carrying out lawful orders."

Evidence was heard from a number of senior officers who all denied ordering the spying operation.

Image copyright Alder family
Image caption Christopher Alder died in police custody in Hull in 1998

The tribunal, which was ordered by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, found that the the two detective sergeants had "no case to answer".

In a statement, Det Ch Supt Judi Heaton of Humberside Police said: "We know that this has been a distressing time for Ms Alder and her family.

"We do understand her frustration that the exact details around the case have not been able to be established."

Mr Alder choked to death while lying face down and unconscious in a pool of blood in a police custody suite, as a group of officers stood chatting nearby.

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