Jump to content

No misconduct found against officers accused of spying on campaigner


Recommended Posts

Sister of veteran who died in custody says investigation should have focused on those who ordered surveillance.

Janet Alder pictured in 2006. Photo: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire

Two police officers accused of spying on a woman campaigning about the death in custody of her brother have "no case to answer" a police misconduct hearing has found.

The two men were accused of gross misconduct over the unauthorised surveillance of Janet Alder more than 17 years ago, outside the inquest at Hull Combined Court into her brother Christopher's death.

On Thursday, a panel of three, sitting in Goole, East Yorkshire, decided there was no case to answer for the two officers.

During the four-day hearing, the panel heard how a police surveillance team was deployed outside the inquest in July 2000 with orders relating to possible public order situations.

The officers facing disciplinary actions - referred to as Officer One and Officer Two - were accused of carrying out surveillance on July 28 2000 "without appropriate authorisation and justification" when they followed Ms Alder and her barrister, Leslie Thomas QC, and listened to their conversations.

But their lawyers argued they had simply been doing what they were told by more senior officers.

Jason Pitter QC, representing Officer One, told the hearing: "He would have been following instructions given to him by those involved in the wider investigation of the events surrounding the inquest."

He said that although there may have been failings, "the culpability lies with others, further up the chain and parts of the wider system deployed by Humberside Police Service."

Sam Green QC, for Officer Two, said: "He is 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."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission - now the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) - investigated the surveillance of Ms Alder but the Crown Prosecution Service decided no-one should be prosecuted.

A spokeswoman for Humberside Police said on Thursday: "We complied with the direction from the IOPC to convene a hearing for gross misconduct against the two officers. This hearing has now concluded with a result of 'no case to answer' for both officers."

At the beginning of the hearing, Ms Alder, 56, from Leeds, said: "My concern is not the surveillance team, it's who further up ordered it. It's not these two."

She said that although the hearing is only focusing on less than two hours of surveillance, she believes she was followed by officers over a much longer period, starting in 1998.

"This is just a tiny bit of it," she said. "Even now I think 'are they still surveilling me?'."

Detective Chief Superintendent 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.”

View On Police Oracle

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There’s been a hearing now for something that happened 18 YEARS ago? Even if it was proven which clearly it hasn’t, how could you dismiss someone for gross misconduct 18 years later? It would be madness.

And even then just reading the article above would suggest it was something the officers were tasked with? It’s a long time ago but does anyone know more about this? Am I missing something here? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’m puzzled as to how 2 officers were singled out and what they were meant to have done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very worrying turn of events. Are we now to question EVERY request by a higher rank to ensure it’s lawful to an unreasonably high level? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This would have been pre RIPA and pre R v Sutherland. However, still strange how these two have been singled out and no one higher up the food chain have been bought before the panel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...