PICKET OF IPCC TO DEMAND PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO ORGREAVE
The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) is holding a second demonstration at the Wakefield office of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), Pioneer House, Woolpacks Yard, Wakefield WF1 2SG on Friday 28 March at 1pm.
OTJC members are disappointed at the length of time it is taking for the IPCC to come to a conclusion as to whether they will launch a full investigation into the criminal activities of the South Yorkshire Police (SYP) at Orgreave coking works near Rotherham in 1984.
On 18 June 1984, 95 miners were arrested at Orgreave after thousands of police officers – many in riot gear, with others on horseback - brutally assaulted miners participating in a 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, 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.
The same force that caused the tragedy at Hillsborough that killed 96 Liverpool fans in 1989 is determined to evade its responsibilities and recently prevented Barnsley football fans from displaying the OTJC banner at the home game against Nottingham Forest on the 30thanniversary of the start of the year long miners’ strike in 1984-85.
It was in November 2012 that SYP referred itself to the IPCC to decide whether there should be a full investigation into what happened at Orgreave on 18 June and in the earlier picketing at the plant in May/June.
The IPCC has thus had over a year to conduct an investigation exercise. Sadly, the organisation appears to have undertaken a very limited amount of work in collecting and collating information on events at Orgreave. Much of the information it now possesses has been supplied to it by the NUM and solicitor Gareth Pierce. The OTJC therefore remains concerned that no officers will face charges of assault, perjury, perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public office.
In recent years a number of prominent individuals and organisations have described the IPCC as ‘not fit for purpose.’ The OTJC has not – as yet – drawn the same conclusion but our demonstration is intended to remind the organisation that we will not back away from campaigning for our primary demand, which is a full public inquiry. If the IPCC can help in this then they need to get a move on or if not then move aside as quickly as possible.
The OTJC meantime welcomes the decision by the Labour Party to launch its Justice for the Coalfields Campaign and calls on Ed Miliband to confirm that in the event of a Labour Government being elected in 2015 it will order a full public inquiry into events at Orgreave in 1984.