This week marks a grim anniversary: one year since the murder of Sarah Everard. The killing by a serving policeman, PC Wayne Couzens, shook the country. But for the families of others that have died at the hands of the police, it was exceptional for another reason: it is one of the few times in England’s history that a policeman has been sentenced for killing a member of the public.
Christopher Alder was an ex-British Army paratrooper, training to become a computer programmer. He had served in the Falklands War and was commended for his work in Northern Ireland.
At a preliminary hearing for the public inquiry into the death of the 31-year-old after being restrained by police, lawyers warned that there could be “unanswered questions and uncertainty” from a lack of answers unless they were given certain immunity.
Lawyers for the Scottish Police Federation and the officers involved want undertakings that no evidence given to the inquiry by any officer will be used against them in any criminal proceedings or used to decide if they should be prosecuted.
In the 12 months to December 2021 there were a total of 371 deaths of people in prison, representing the highest annual number of deaths ever recorded, with more than one death a day. This is despite recent reductions in the prison population. There were 4.7 deaths per 1,000 prisoners, also representing the highest ever rate of deaths.