12 Days Remaining

Saturday 29th
posted by Peter Lazenby in Britain

Justice campaigners’ fury as vital documents locked away

CAMPAIGNERS are demanding the release of newly discovered files about the police attack on striking miners at Orgreave in Yorkshire in 1984.

But Tory ministers have said that the “sensitive” files will remain secret until 2066.

Activists said that all the people affected by the police brutality would be dead by then and any further investigation or an inquiry would be fruitless.

The decision brought a storm of protest from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC), and a call from a Commons committee of MPs for their release.

On June 18 1984, police brutally attacked striking miners peacefully picketing Orgreave coke plant, near Rotherham. For four years, the OTJC has pressed for a public inquiry into the attack and who authorised it.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd promised an inquiry last year but changed her mind despite continued campaigning by activists to the Home Office.

The new files were held by the Association of Chief Police Officers, which went out of existence in 2015 and was replaced by the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

The Home Office has “closed” the files until 2066 because they contain “personal sensitive information.”

Home affairs select committee chairwoman Labour MP Yvette Cooper has now written to Ms Rudd calling on her to release the files.

OTJC said: “The constant covering up of the Thatcher government’s involvement in the strike and the conduct and impunity of the police is deeply disturbing.

“If Amber Rudd is genuine in her claims that lessons have been learned and policing practices have changed since the strike then what has this Tory government got to hide?

“A full public inquiry into government participation and police operations at Orgreave is essential in order to establish the truth and justice required to enable miners and their communities to move on.”

Former miner Kevin Horne, who was arrested at Orgreave, said: “All the people involved will be dead by 2066.”

OTJC chair Joe Rollin said: “It is becoming clearer every day that this Tory government is protecting the Tory government of the 1980s which engineered and authorised police brutality against striking miners, and used whatever methods they deemed necessary to demonise and undermine workers fighting for their jobs and communities.”