This week it was announced that the Independent Police Complaints Commission would not investigate the “Battle of Orgreave”. Serious allegations remain outstanding against South Yorkshire Police from the clash with picketing miners in 1984. I have added my signature to a letter calling for the Home Office to launch a full public enquiry. Justice is not time-limited.
Please see the full text of the letter below:
Secretary of State for the Home Office,
We are writing with regard to the Independent Police Complaints Commission's decision of Friday 12th June not to launch an investigation into the South Yorkshire Police's handling of events at the Orgreave coking plant in June 1984.
As the IPCC Deputy Chair, Sarah Green, herself notes in the full decision rationale "the events of June 1984 marked not only a critical point in the miners' strike, but also in the relationship with, and trust in, the police".
However, Sarah Green states that to conduct a full investigation into whether "individual officers perjured themselves, there was controlling intelligence at a senior level, or a systematic integrity issue within the force which led to evidence being fabricated" would be "extremely challenging for the IPCC" involving "hundreds of witnesses, many of whom were relatively junior at the time" and "the fact that it has taken us two years to gather and read existing documentation - which is by no means complete - indicates the scale of the challenge".
Given the IPCC have indicated they do not have the capacity to carry out such an important investigation and in light of the seriousness of the allegations against South Yorkshire Police, including perjury, perverting the course of justice, misconduct in a public office, and whether the actions of the police were influenced by the highest levels of government and finally given the scale of public concern, the case for a full public inquiry into the events of Orgreave is clear.
That case must surely have been strengthened by the view of the Deputy Chair of the IPCC herself in the full decision rationale that such questions can only be answered "if there is a full public inquiry or an exercise like the Hillsborough Independent Panel (HIP)" concluding that "nothing in this report precludes such an exercise".
We are therefore writing to request an urgent meeting with the Home Secretary, a delegation of MPs, representatives from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, and victims to enable the representatives to make the case for a full public inquiry and to ask the government whether ministers will move to establish such an inquiry.
We look forward to hearing from you at the earliest opportunity.