Monday, 21 October 2013

Picket to demand public inquiry into Orgreave

On 14 November a picket of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) offices in Wakefield at 1pm will highlight the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) demand for a public inquiry into policing at Orgreave coking works on 18 June 1984. The date marks the first anniversary of South Yorkshire Police’s referral of itself to the IPCC to decide whether there should be a full investigation and there is currently no indication as to how long it will take the IPCC to examine all the police files.
95 miners were arrested at Orgreave near Rotherham after thousands of police officers – many dressed in riot gear, with others on horseback - brutally assaulted miners participating in a year-long strike aimed at defending jobs and mining communities.
However when the subsequent court cases took place all of the charges – which included, in many cases, riot – were abandoned when it became clear that the police’s oral and written evidence was unreliable. Each prosecution had been supported by two police officers making near- identical statements.
Later, South Yorkshire Police (SYP) paid out £425,000 in compensation to 39 pickets in out of court settlements. Nevertheless, no police officers were disciplined for misconduct or charged for the injuries they caused to those they attacked.
In April 1989, SYP went on to doctor the statements of police officers present at Hillsborough, when 96 Liverpool fans lost their lives due to the force losing control of operations on the day. It took 23 years for the campaign by Liverpool fans for the truth to emerge and following which SYP referred its officers’ conduct to the IPCC, who are currently conducting the biggest ever review of the police.
Following which the OTJC was established in November 2012 to seek ‘truth and justice for all miners victimised by the police at Orgreave Coking Plant, South Yorkshire, on June 18th 1984....We call for a full public inquiry, to take place as soon as possible.”
TV and press coverage further increased the pressure on SYP and the force subsequently referred itself to the IPCC to decide whether there should be a full investigation into what happened at Orgreave on June 18th and in the earlier picketing at the plant in May and June 1984.
However, one year on there is no indication of how long it will take for the IPCC to examine all the police files and the OTJC remains concerned that no officers will face charges of assault, perjury, perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public office.
The OTJC will therefore by holding a protest outside the IPCC offices in Wakefield on 14 November at 1pm. The address is:- IPCC Northern Echo, Pioneer House, Woolpack’s Yards, Wakefield WF1 2SG
Details:- or ring 0114 2509510 http:// Photograph courtesy of Edwina Jenkinson

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