Orgreave Anniversary Rally

OTJC_Flyer_FrontBack
Saturday 18th June 2016
5pm start at The Old Bridge, Orgreave Lane, Sheffield S13 9NE

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign seeks truth and justice for all miners victimised by the police at Orgreave Coking Plant, South Yorkshire, June 1984. Orgreave is part of the platform of cover ups and lies by the police from many different forces, which are now being exposed.

We call for a public inquiry to take place as soon as possible into the policing and subsequent statements recorded by the police at the time.

We want everyone who seeks truth and wants justice to support us in our campaign.

 

 

Hillsborough Verdicts Vindicate Tireless Campaigners for Justice

The fourteen jury verdicts today in the inquest into the 96 people who died at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989 bring to an end one stage of the tireless campaign by the Hillsborough bereaved families to establish the truth about who was responsible for the terrible disaster on that day, twenty seven years ago.

 

For years it was a battle against the lies spread in the media about drunken Liverpool fans storming the football ground. The notorious Sun front page on Wednesday 19 April, four days after the disaster, was the worst example of what was being reported in many newspapers, local, regional, national, blaming Liverpool supporters for the disaster. The verdict on question 7, whether fans contributed to the disaster, was an unequivocal ‘No’.

 

Some thought the campaign for justice by the families was futile. Now at last, after an inquest lasting more than two years, we have the truth.

 

The key question, number 6, ‘Were the 96 people unlawfully killed?’ has now been answered. They were. Now the South Yorkshire police superintendent in command at the match, David Duckenfield, must surely face criminal charges, as well as South Yorkshire Police for the way it conducted itself on the day and in the aftermath of the disaster.

 

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) pay tribute to the dedication and tireless commitment of the formidable Hillsborough campaigners. OTJC Chair, Joe Rollin, said, ‘I am overjoyed that justice has finally been done for the Hillsborough families. The verdicts demonstrate that with the determination and public support campaigners can overturn miscarriages of justice. The verdicts will spur on the OTJC and its demand for a full public inquiry into the policing at Orgreave on 18 June 1984.’

Frances O’Grady’s speech to regional TUC

Below is an extract from Frances O’Grady’s speech to the regional TUC conference in Leeds, in which she mentions the Orgreave Truth and Justice campaign.

“And you’ve kept up the flag of justice flying for the Orgreave miners and their families.

“Make no mistake, the decision by the Independent Police Complaints Commission to drop its investigation was shameful. But it only doubles our determination to find out the truth.

“And I want to give you my personal assurance that the TUC will not rest until we what those miners and communities deserve – a full and independent public inquiry and justice for all.”

Letter from Theresa May, Home Secretary

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Letter  from Theresa May, Home Secretary, 17/3/16 to our request for a progress  update, paraphrased below.  We are also seeking to have regular updates and to have early warning of any imminent announcements so we can organise a press conference At the NUM Barnsley Offices  24 hours  later of a decision.

“She states that OTJC’s legal submission is extensive in detail about 18/6/1984 and allegations about the police etc.  The length of time which it took us to prepare the submission( 5 months in total)  is recognised by the Home Secretary in terms of its thoroughness and exacting detail provided.
She feels it is important that any response from her recognises the effort that went into the preparation and that a proper analysis is undertaken by her Home Office Team. she states this anlaysis is drawing to an end and that she can provide a response shortly.”
Barbara Jackson
Joe Rollin

Chance to bid for Francesca Martinez’s book “What is Normal”

Celebrated on the comedy circuit for her biting brand of stand up – comedian, actress, writer and political campaigner Francesca Martinez has shown her support for the Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign. Francesca has very kindly donated a signed copy of her book – the funny and warm memoir ‘What the **** is normal?!’ to help the OTJC raise funds. Francesca is an outspoken opponent of the Tory Governments welfare reforms and has consistently campaigned against cuts to disability benefits and on many other issues. She has challenged the government in numerous TV interviews including Newsnight and as a respected social commentator speaks at meetings and demos across the country against austerity cuts. Born with cerebral palsy Francesca’s funny and personal story illustrates with poignancy and wit how she confronts a world obsessed with being ‘normal’

We are “auctioning” her book (signed) to raise money for the OTJC the “Auction” will take place from today and close on the 15th of April email your bid to orgreavejustice@hotmail.com Starting at £10 highest bidder wins!

Rotherham, Hillsborough and Cliff Richard, chief of scandal-hit South Yorkshire Police quits £195,000 post – The Star

Here is our response regarding the retirement of South Yorkshire Police chief constable David Crompton. The original story can be read below our response.

South Yorkshire Police Constable should stay to seek Justice for Orgreave

Campaigners from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) were surprised to learn today about the plans of David Crompton, Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police (SYP), to take early retirement from the force after being in this post for only four years.

OTJC made a legal submission to Home Secretary Theresa May in December 2015 calling for an Independent Panel or Public Inquiry to be held about the policing of pickets by South Yorkshire Police at the Orgreave coking plant during the 84/5 Miners Strike on 18th June 1984. Campaigners had hoped that Chief Constable David Crompton, in post when the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) carried out their 2 & 1/2 year scoping exercise would have also been instrumental in helping the Home Secretary ensure investigation of police conduct enabling SYP to move on from its negative reputation and corrupt history.

OTJC Secretary Barbara Jackson said:

“SYP police, in key positions of responsibility, seem to be able to retire and avoid accountability for their actions. The retirement of Chief Constable David Crompton is the latest example, and underlines the urgency of a swift decision from the Home Secretary on our call for a public inquiry.”

Why I put off retirement by a year – South Yorkshire’s chief constable

THE chief constable of South Yorkshire Police has revealed he delayed his decision to retire by a year because of the “significant challenges” facing his under-fire force.

David Crompton, 52, whose force faced a public outcry over the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal, revealed this week that he is to retire from his £195,000 a year job in November.

In his first public comments since the decision was revealed, Mr Crompton denied that the move was linked to this week’s publication of a report into how his force tackles child grooming across South Yorkshire.

He said: “Having read recent media coverage regarding my retirement later this year, I wanted to correct inaccurate comments about my decision to leave.

“Last year I had served thirty years in policing and was able to retire but I felt leaving in the midst of significant challenges for the force would not have been helpful and so I agreed to serve another year. I will have completed that year in November.

“In January, I agreed with [police and crime commissioner that I would make an announcement about my retirement sometime prior to the PCC elections so that my position would be clear to whoever is successful at the election.

“It is unfortunate that the timing of this reaching the media meant it was linked, by some, to the publication of the Drew Review. In fact, the Drew Review is clear that South Yorkshire Police is making good progress in tackling child sexual exploitation, and this will remain a key priority for me for the next seven months.”

Mr Crompton’s four-year reign as chief has been dogged by controversy with South Yorkshire Police also struggling to cope with the legacy of a troubled history, including the ongoing fresh inquests into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster and calls for a public inquiry into police conduct surrounding the so-called ‘Battle of Orgreave’ during the 1984/85 miners’ strike.

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings, who extended Mr Crompton’s initial three-year contract by another 18 months last spring, said he had accepted the chief constable’s wish to retire.

He said: “He’s done 31 years and feels the time has come to retire. He was very clear when I saw him. He feels he has done his bit – he’s a relatively young man and there are other things to do in life.”

South Yorkshire Police Federation chairman Neil Bowles said Mr Crompton had informed staff associations and unions he would be leaving at a scheduled quarterly meeting earlier this week.

Mr Billings paid tribute to Mr Compton’s service, particularly given the weight of difficult issues the force has had to deal with.

He said: “It’s a very pressurised job, probably one of the most pressurised of jobs in the country so I don’t blame him for going.

“The unique thing about South Yorkshire Police is that we’ve had all the challenges other forces are coping with in relation to austerity and balancing the books but we’ve also had not one but a number of high profile, very emotive issues that have had to be dealt with.

“Many would have buckled under the strain of just one of these but to carry on with the strain of all these things has been quite a challenge.

“All credit to the chief constable that he has remained strong throughout that time when a lot of people would have simply given up and walked away.”

Liberal Democrat Lord Paul Scriven, who had called for Mr Crompton’s resignation, said: “I’m glad David Crompton is finally going, although i’m disappointed that it is under his own terms and he is retiring, rather than being ousted by the people of South Yorkshire as he rightly should have been.

“The PCC has been complacent in allowing him to continue in post during this time as under his watch progress in South Yorkshire Police has not been made fast enough.

“What matters now is getting the right person in the job so South Yorkshire Police can move forwards and I’m not confident that Alan Billings is the man to do that.”

The most damaging of all the controversial issues to hit the force during the Crompton era was the child grooming scandal in Rotherham. The revelation in a 2014 landmark report by Professor Alexis Jay that at least 1,400 children had been subjected to sexual abuse between 1997 and 2013 with virtual impunity severely undermined public confidence in the force.

Although most of the abuse occurred before Mr Crompton became chief constable in April 2012, South Yorkshire Police has continued to face criticism for its response to the scandal. HM Inspectorate of Constabulary found “serious concerns” over the force’s approach to protecting children during an inspection in 2014, shortly after the publication of the Jay Report, and last year found major improvements were still needed, though HMIC did acknowledge there were “tangible signs” of progress.

An independent report into the force’s handling of child sexual exploitation published today, produced by Professor John Drew, said there had been improvements but added there was still work to be done.

Mr Crompton also faced direct personal criticism over how police co-operated with the BBC when officers raided the home of Sir Cliff Richard in August 2014 in connection with allegations of child abuse, which the singer strenuously denies.

At a hearing of the home affairs select committee in September 2014, chairman Keith Vaz MP told Mr Crompton that his force had shown “a gross lack of competence” by agreeing to ‘tip-off’ the BBC about the raid, which led to extensive live coverage, and criticised the chief constable for not approaching the BBC at a senior level to try to stop the story running.

Mr Crompton told the committee he believed staff had little option but to work with the BBC after being approached with information about the inquiry by a reporter and not doing so could have compromised the investigation.

Mr Crompton joined the police in 1985, rising through the ranks with Greater Manchester Police to become a chief superintendent. He became assistant chief constable with West Yorkshire Police in 2004 and subsequently deputy chief constable in 2008 before taking the top job in South Yorkshire in 2012.

The process for appointing a new chief constable will not begin until after May’s election for the position of police and crime commissioner.

Solidarity and the Miners Strike

OTJC was invited to attend an event at TUC Congress House in London on Monday 14th March organised by the TUC. The TUC are currently hosting an exhibition produced by the TUC library showing the huge solidarity and support for the 84/85 Miners Strike. TUC General Secretary Francis O’Grady welcomed people to the event including trade union activists and campaigners as well as ex miners and people involved in the strike. OTJC representative Granville Williams spoke at the event along with other speakers including Mike Jackson from Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners, Dai Donavan from Dulais South Wales NUM and Chris Kitchen NUM General Secretary.

Speakers talked about the friendships that had developed throughout the strike, the kindness and generosity of people throughout Britain and abroad contributing food, toys, money and accommodation. They spoke of the magnificent role played by the trade union and labour movement with support and solidarity at meetings, demonstrations, events and picket lines. The contribution of musicians, comedians and people in the arts was also praised. They emphasised the links between what happened to the Miners in 84/5 to what is happening to workers today, the need for opposition to the Trade Union Bill and TTIP and the importance of supporting the public sector, Junior Doctors and our NHS.

Granville told the story of the journey taken from establishing the OTJC and the commitment of campaigners to the position the campaign is now at – awaiting a response from Home Secretary Theresa May to the OTJC legal submission.  He asked for supporters of the OTJC to help put on the pressure for a Public Inquiry. Francis pledged support from the TUC.

The Solidarity and the Miners Strike exhibition is at TUC Congress House in London for the next two weeks and will be displayed at various venues throughout the country.

Please contact Jeff Howarth at the TUC Library for more information.

j.howarth1@londonmet.ac.uk