Prosecutors to consider watchdog’s Humberside Police spying dossier

Janet Alder, sister of Christopher Alder. Photo credit should read: Fiona Hanson/PA
Janet Alder, sister of Christopher Alder. Photo credit should read: Fiona Hanson/PA
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Officers at a Yorkshire police force could face prosecution for allegedly spying on the family of a black former paratrooper who died in police custody in 1998.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has finished its report into “potential improper surveillance” carried out by Humberside Police on Janet Alder, the sister of Christoper Alder, and one other person.

The report, which has taken nearly two years to produce, has now been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service so a decision can be made on whether anyone has committed a criminal offence.

Mr Alder, 37, died in the custody suite in Queens Gardens police station in Hull in 1998. An inquest later ruled he had been unlawfully killed.

In 2013, Humberside Police found evidence that officers had placed Christopher Alder’s sister Janet Alder and another person under surveillance.

The evidence of surveillance came to light after all police forces were asked to check their records following claims the Metropolitan Police spied on the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.

An IPCC spokesman said: “The IPCC has concluded its investigation into potential improper surveillance conducted by Humberside Police on Janet Alder and another person.

“The IPCC has decided to refer its report to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration of whether any individuals may have committed a criminal offence.

“It would be inappropriate for the IPCC to comment further at this stage.”

In 2013 it emerged that two Humberside Police officers, one serving and one retired, refused to answer questions when interviewed under caution as part of the IPCC inquiry.

West Yorkshire Police was also asked to search its archives in 2013 and found a report relating to Mohammed Amran, a former race equality commissioner in Bradford who appeared at the Macpherson Inquiry into the Lawrence murder in Bradford in 1998.

In February this year, a report by the IPCC said an inadequate paper trail and the fading memories of ex-officers made it impossible to establish why a report was compiled by West Yorkshire Police into Mr Amran.

Ex-West Yorkshire Police chief constable Sir Norman Bettison was interviewed under caution over the intelligence report compiled in 1998.

He denied ordering the report and said a junior officer may have compiled it to impress him.

The IPCC said there was no evidence to suggest the report was used to undermine his credibility.