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Petitions

Volume 683: debated on Tuesday 10 November 2020

Petition

Tuesday 10 November 2020

Observations

Home Department

Inquiry into policing at the Orgreave coking plant, 18 June 1984

The petition of residents of the constituency of Easington,

Declares that the UK Government has a responsibility to investigate properly the behaviour of the police at the Orgreave coking plant miners’ strike on 18 June 1984; further declares that it fails this responsibility with its decision on 31 October 2016 not to order an inquiry into the policing of the strike; further declares that the silence of the UK Government on this issue is irreconcilable with Scotland and Wales, where the Scottish Parliament completed its own review in February 2019 into the policing of the Miners’ Strike in Scotland and the Welsh Assembly continues to call for a review; and further declares that, until a light can be shone on the government participation and police operations during the Miners’ Strike 1984-85, and specifically on 18 June 1984 at Orgreave, this historic injustice will continue to fuel public unrest at the lack of accountability of the state.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to take into account the concerns of the petitioners and review its decision not to order an independent inquiry into the policing at the Orgreave coking plant on 18 June 1984; and to consider afresh the legal submission presented to the Home Secretary by the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign in 2015.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Grahame Morris, Official Report, 21 October 2020; Vol. 682, c. 1178.]

[P002615]

Observations from the Minister for Crime and Policing (Kit Malthouse):

In making her decision, announced on 31 October 2016, not to establish a public inquiry into the policing of events at Orgreave on 18 June 1984, the then Home Secretary Amber Rudd 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 then Home Secretary considered a number of factors, reviewed a range of documents, carefully scrutinised the arguments contained in the OTJC’s submission and spoke to its members and other campaign supporters —including the then Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham. She subsequently concluded that neither an inquiry nor a review was required, 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 South Yorkshire and across the country. This Government have introduced a number of reforms to improve the accountability and transparency of policing, including those in the Policing and Crime Act 2017 to strengthen the police discipline and complaints systems and create the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Taking all these factors into account, the Government continue to believe that establishing any kind of inquiry into the policing of the events at Orgreave in 1984, or of the miners’ strike of 1984-85, is not in the wider public interest or required for any other reason.