Council demands public inquiry into policing of Orgreave picket lines during Miners Strike

Durham County Council wants a public inquiry into policing at Orgreave in 1984.
Durham County Council wants a public inquiry into policing at Orgreave in 1984.

Durham County Council has demanded a full public inquiry into the policing of picket lines outside the Orgreave coking plant in 1984.

The authority has unanimously passed a resolution, with support from members of all political parties, recognising the events of that day in South Yorkshire as being "of both local and national importance," and is asking for a review of what happened as well as requesting that the government holds meaningful discussions with the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, the National Union of Mineworkers and MPs.

Coun Joy Allen, the council’s cabinet member for safer communities, said: "In Durham, miners and their families were adversely affected by the events of 18 June 1984, in terms of wrongful arrest, false imprisonment, ill-health, family breakdown and lost jobs.

"An investigation into the military style policing used on that day is long overdue and only a full public inquiry can investigate this."

Although dozens of arrests were made on the day, when 95 miners - including four from Durham - were prosecuted, their trials collapsed due to concerns over the evidence against them.

Coun Rob Crute, who proposed the resolution, said: "Perhaps the most disturbing outcome of that day’s events was the effect it had on the manner of policing at subsequent events.

"Without effective controls some police clearly came to believe that they could act with impunity.

"The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign was set up to lead calls for a public inquiry into the events that took place, including methods used by South Yorkshire police during and after the event which included wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and false prosecution.

"Surely the time is now right to show solidarity with the OTJC and join calls for a public inquiry into the policing tactics used at Orgreave. Perhaps this could be similar in structure to the independent panel established to investigate the tragic events at Hillsborough.

"Natural justice demands that the police and anyone else implicated in what happened are held accountable for their actions, and that every effort is made to ensure that heavy-handed policing remains an unfortunate anomaly of the past.”