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Petitions

Volume 704: debated on Monday 22 November 2021

Petition

Monday 22 November 2021

Observations

Home Department

Inquiry into policing at Orgreave Coking Plant

The petition of residents of the constituency of Easington,

Declares that the UK Government has not properly investigated the behaviour of police at the Orgreave Coking Plant on 18 June 1984; further that in the five years since the Home Secretary decided not to order an inquiry, on 31 October 2016, the Government has not responded to any new events and evidence; further that key events and evidence that came to light during that time include the 2020 decision of the Scottish Parliament to grant a collective pardon to miners’ convicted in Scotland during the 1984-85 strike, the 2018 independent approach by the Bishop of Sheffield that there be an independent panel set up, similar to the Hillsborough Independent Panel, to commence scrutiny and consideration of the events of 18 June 1984, the further release of Home Office papers relating to the strike in the last five years and finally the disclosure by the National Police Chiefs’ Counsel of the existence and location of Association of Chief Police Officers files relating to Orgreave and the miners’ strike that are embargoed until 2066; further that Tory MPs representing ex-mining communities have failed to publicly state their support for an inquiry; and further that the recent Daily Mirror article exposing Amber Rudd’s conversation about not holding an inquiry into Orgreave because it would “tarnish Thatcher’s memory” was very disappointing.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to consider the concerns of the petitioners and review its decision not to order an independent inquiry into 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, 28 October 2021; Vol. 702, c. 500.]

[P002695]

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

As was made clear in the written statement (HCWS227) made to the House on 31 October 2016 announcing that a public inquiry or other review would not be established into the policing of events at Orgreave on 18 June 1984, the Government was of the view that 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. That position was subsequently reiterated in in the responses to Parliamentary Petitions P002072 and P002615 in December 2017 and November 2020 respectively.

The rationale for the decision in 2016 was based on the very significant changes in the oversight of policing at every level, including major reforms to criminal procedure, changes to public order policing and practice, stronger external scrutiny, and greater local accountability. The policing landscape throughout the United Kingdom has changed fundamentally since the miners’ strike of 1984-85, as has the wider criminal justice system. As a result, it was determined that an inquiry would be unlikely to result in relevant and meaningful learning for the current policing and criminal justice system.

Since the decision in October 2016 the Government have also 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, in January 2018, reformed the police watchdog, creating the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Taking these factors into account the Government remain of the view 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.