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Policing Orgreave

Volume 633: debated on Wednesday 20 December 2017

The petition of residents of the United Kingdom,

Declares that the events of Orgreave Coking Plant in June 1984 and the aftermath, had a huge and lasting impact upon coal field communities; and further to public suspicion surrounding the actions of the South Yorkshire Police a deep mistrust in the community remains as a result.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to commit to a full public inquiry into policing at Orgreave, and its aftermath to finally authoritatively establish the truth

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Sarah Champion, Official Report, 31 October 2017; Vol. 630, c. 790.]

[P002072]

Observations from the Minister for Policing and the Fire Service (Mr Nick Hurd); received Friday 15 December 2017:

In making her decision, announced on 31 October 2016, not to establish a public inquiry into the policing of events at Orgreave in 1984, the Home Secretary carefully considered a submission from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC).

As was made clear in the written statement (HCWS227) made to the House that day, in determining whether or not to establish a statutory inquiry or other review, the Home Secretary considered a number of factors, reviewed a range of documents, carefully scrutinized the arguments contained in the OTJC’s submission and spoke to its members and other campaign supporters—including the then Shadow Home Secretary. She subsequently concluded that neither an inquiry nor a review was required to allay public concern, for the reasons set out in her statement to the House.

The Government remain of the view there would be very few lessons for the policing system today to be learned from any review of the events and practices of over three decades ago. The policing landscape has changed fundamentally since 1984—at the political, legislative and operational levels—as has the wider criminal justice system.

This is a very important consideration when looking at the necessity for an inquiry or independent review and the public interest to be derived from holding one. The Government believe that the focus should be on continuing to ensure that the policing system is the best it can be for the future, including through reforms introduced in the Policing and Crime Act 2017, so that the public can have the best possible policing both in South Yorkshire and across the country.

Taking all these factors into account, the Government continue to believe that establishing any kind of inquiry is not in the wider public interest or required for any other reason.