A POLICE force investigating the death of a man in its custody obtained detailed social services records of his brothers and sister in a trawl for information to smear them, his sister has claimed.
The accusations concerning black former paratrooper Christopher Alder, who died in Humberside Police custody in Hull on April 1, 1998, come after allegations yesterday that the Metropolitan Police tried to smear the family of Stephen Lawrence, the black teenager stabbed to death in a racist murder in London in April 1993.
As part of their investigation into Mr Alder’s death, Humberside Police obtained social service records dating back to the births of all the Alder children – Christopher, Richard, Emmanuel, Stephen, and Janet, who were brought up in care.
A 2006 report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission said the records “did not seem to have any relevance” to the case.
The report also questioned the need for six officers to search Mr Alder’s one-bedroom flat, which was sealed off for two weeks, photographed, and a map drawn of where items were found.
The report said this was “more in keeping with what might be expected if Mr Alder were a suspect rather than a victim”.
Mr Alder’s sister Janet, 51, also claimed she was followed by police and her phone was tapped, although the IPCC found no evidence of this.
She said she did not speak out at the time because she did not think her fears would be taken seriously.
“I couldn’t say anything to the public because people would think I was crazy and just dealing with grief, and then we see it in the IPCC report. Once again they are blaming the victims.
“They tried to blame Christopher, they tried to blame Jason Paul (initially arrested on suspicion of Mr Alder’s murder), and they attempted to smear my family by getting records from when we were born. What has that got to do with Christopher dying on the custody-suite floor?”
Assistant Chief Constable Stuart Donald said the force and police service in general had “learned many lessons” from Mr Alder’s death. He added: “The IPCC in conducting its review had access to all relevant material. Humberside Police has acted upon the conclusions of the report and there is nothing now at this distance in time that Humberside Police can usefully add to them.”