There Will be No Orgreave Inquiry

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said there will be no inquiry into the violent clash between striking minors and the South Yorkshire police in 1984. The decision has followed years of campaigning from former miners and the group Orgreave Justice, who have all expressed shock at the decision as they had been told to expect some form of inquiry, even if it had been a limited one. There has been an outpour of disbelief and horror in response to the ruling, of which Rudd has said:

“I know that this decision will come as a significant disappointment to the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign and its supporters, and I have set out in a letter to them today the detailed reasons for my decision, which include the following points.

“Despite the forceful accounts and arguments provided by the campaigners and former miners who were present that day, about the effect that these events have had on them, ultimately there were no deaths or wrongful convictions”.

The secretary of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, Barbara Jackson, has said the announcement has been a “complete shock and a great disappointment” and would result in “no transparency, no accountability, no truth and no justice”.

Diane Abbott, the former shadow home secretary, said: “It is a grave injustice that there will be no statutory inquiry into the battle of Orgreave.”

Rudd said she disagreed with campaigners that a full and proper inquiry and the time of the events may have prevented the events at Hillsborough where 96 people were killed, and said that there is little the police force could gain from an inquiry into an event which took place 30 years ago, since the force is now fundamentally different. “Taking these considerations into account, I do not believe that establishing any kind of inquiry is required to allay public concerns or for any other reason,” she said.

However, an inquiry was of huge significance in a situation where there was suspicion the police had abused their position of power in the justice system to unlawfully charge and attempt to convict innocent people. The misplaced culpability that affected so many after the event alone should be enough to warrant an investigation, but this coupled with the suspected unlawful activity of police at the time should make it essential. That kind of behaviour from those whose job it is to uphold the law should not be allowed to go unpunished, nor should it have 30 years ago. It is not only in the event of death that inquiries are of vital importance, but also when people have been unfairly treated and had to face difficult consequences as a result, and more so when it is our police force at the root of the issue. The decision is a great disappointment which many feel is incorrect, and those who have so far campaigned have said they will ‘not take no for an answer’.