Dear Sajid Javid
It is the second anniversary of the decision made by the previous Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, not to hold an Inquiry into the events at Orgreave in June 1984. The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) are urging you to commission an Orgreave inquiry to allow the open wound of Orgreave to heal. The reasons that Amber Rudd gave when turning down our request for an inquiry do not stand up to scrutiny.
When we met with Theresa May as Home Secretary, she appeared to be sympathetic to the points we made. Our delegation included those arrested at Orgreave. Theresa May made speeches about the need to look into historical injustices. Orgreave is a major injustice, and communities and the police will not be able to move on without an Inquiry. The OTJC submitted a detailed legal document of compelling evidence to Theresa May and Amber Rudd which seems to have been ignored.
The premeditated violence by the police against miners picketing the Orgreave coking plant on June 18 1984, during the year-long miners’ strike, the subsequent arrests of 95 miners on spurious charges, evidence of police lying under oath in court and behaving with impunity and evidence of government involvement in the strike with a false narrative perpetuated by the media are all reasons why the OTJC are pressing for a public inquiry into what happened at Orgreave.
Dozens of mounted officers armed with long truncheons charged at defenceless Miners followed by snatch squad officers in riot gear with shields. Many miners were assaulted, many suffered serious injuries, and many were detained. Several mounted police charges followed. The police ran amok, clubbing and arresting miners indiscriminately.
The trial in 1985 collapsed but there has never been any accountability into the events of the day and afterwards. An inquiry into government participation and police operations at Orgreave is necessary to establish truth and justice to enable miners and our communities to have closure and move forward.
Next year will be the 35th anniversary of Orgreave, the setting for the most violent assault by police during an industrial dispute. It is also the 200th anniversary of another infamous deployment of the forces of the state to squash popular protest, the Peterloo Massacre.
Many MPs, councils, trade unions, political, campaigning and community groups, the police and individuals have supported the OTJC call for a public inquiry. This is not just for the families and communities so deeply affected but because truth and justice is in the public interest and what we rely on in a democratic society.
It is already in the public domain that some released papers highlight active Government involvement in the Miners’ strike. The onerous task of anyone trying to obtain further information, with many papers relating to Orgreave not due for release until 2066, makes it impossible to gather evidence in a coherent way. It is vital that we have an Inquiry to ensure we have a thorough and authoritative review and to be able to access everything relevant.
Kate Flannery and Chris Hockney
Secretary and Chair
Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign