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For immediate release 27 March 2006
DAMNING REPORT ON THE DEATH OF CHRISTOPHER ALDER FALLS
SHORT OF FAMILY’S DEMAND FOR PUBLIC INQUIRY
The IPPC today delivered its report into the death in police custody of Christopher Alder to Parliament. While welcoming the criticisms levelled at four of the five officers immediately involved in the events surrounding his death and who subsequently refused to co-operate with the IPCC Review, INQUEST and Christopher’s family are disappointed that both the IPCC and the Home Secretary Charles Clarke have resisted their call for a public inquiry into his death.
INQUEST has long highlighted the disproportionate number of deaths of young black men in police custody in circumstances involving medical neglect or the use of force. The IPCC Review recognises that racism played a part in Christopher’s death, and as the Chair of the IPCC Nick Hardwick commented “…I do believe the fact he was black stacked the odds more heavily against him,” and also that “…the officers’ neglect undoubtedly did deny him the chance of life”. His conclusion that the officers’ failure to actively assist Christopher meant that he “did not matter enough for them to do all they could to save him” is a
damning indictment in itself of their conduct and Nick Hardwick specifically considers the officers to be “guilty of the most serious neglect of duty”.
Despite two police investigations, an inquest, a criminal trial, an internal police disciplinary hearing and the review itself, Christopher’s family feel that they are still no closer to obtaining justice for his death. Speaking at a press conference after the report’s publication, Christopher’s sister Janet said:
The serious failings the report shows highlights the pressing need for further investigation and a public inquiry which could summon all those involved and through that I believe more evidence could be gained.
Deborah Coles, Co-director of INQUEST, said:
The public scandal of this shocking case is that the police officers who owed a duty of care to Christopher Alder have never publicly accounted for their actions on that night. Public confidence in the police will only be regained when the rule of law is seen to apply equally to those in uniform.
The full text of the report is available from the Home Office website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk .
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