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New documents on the policing of the miners' strike accompany renewed calls for public inquiry
10.3.17
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A new batch of documents on the policing of the 1984-85 miners' strike, primarily related to the Battle of Orgreave in 1984, have been released by the National Archives. The documents show "hints of political direction of the police" according to the South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner, and reveal that the Thatcher goverment feared a "witch hunt" were any public enquiry held.

The release comes after the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, announced in October 2016 that there would be no public inquiry into the events at Orgreave, where violent policing tactics were used against striking miners attempting to block the entry of coal trucks to the local coking plant.

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (link) is holding a demonstration on Monday 13 March calling for the Home Secretary to reverse her decision. See: We won’t be silenced - make some noise for Orgreave demo (Unite Live, link)

On the recently-released documents, see: Miners' strike files suggest 'hints of political direction' of police (The Guardian, link):

"There are “hints of political direction of the police” in the 1984-85 miners’ strike that need to be examined in the latest release of secret Home Office files, the South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner has said.

Dr Alan Billings said he was deeply shocked by some of the disclosures in the batch of Whitehall files. “There are hints of that [political direction] in these documents that are being released. That wants examining.

“[What] the people of South Yorkshire and the areas where the pit villages of South Yorkshire were want is natural justice and the truth about Orgreave and the miners’ strike,” he told the BBC.

...The release of the files has prompted Yvette Cooper, the chair of the home affairs select committee, to renew her call for the remaining Whitehall files on Orgreave and the miners’ strike to be released."

And: Miners' strike policing inquiry 'would have been witch hunt' (BBC News, link):

"The Thatcher government feared a "witch hunt" if a public inquiry were held into policing of the 1984-5 miners' strike, declassified files show.

Minutes of a meeting in 1985 show Leon Brittan then home secretary, wanted to avoid "any form of enquiry" into policing of the picket lines.

Miners say the files show successive governments "never wanted the truth to come out" over the events.

But the Home Office said there were few lessons to be learnt from 30 years ago."

See also: Questions remain after Home Office releases 18 ‘Battle of Orgreave’ files (Yorkshire Post, link):

"Campaigners say “deeply disturbing” questions still remain about the role of Margaret Thatcher’s Government in the policing of the 1984 Battle of Orgreave after the Home Office released 18 files of documentation relating to the scandal.

...But they do not include the all-important operational order, which would have revealed the tactics officers were told to adopt and who gave them the commands before the clashes between striking miners and police at the Orgreave coking plant near Rotherham on June 18, 1984.

A further 15 files are yet to be made public, and West Yorkshire MP Yvette Cooper, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, has called on the Government to make sure the public can see “all the information about what happened that day”."

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