Orgreave: Home Secretary will not launch inquiry

Theresa May led Orgreave families to believe there would be an inquiry into 1984 clash

The Home Secretary today announced there would be no statutory inquiry into the violence

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
@joncstone
Monday 31 October 2016 17:29
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Theresa May and Amber Rudd appear to have changed their minds about whether to hold an inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave since they last met campaigners, it has been revealed.

After the announcement by the Home Secretary on Monday that there would be no statutory inquiry into the 1984 battle between police and Yorkshire miners, representatives of the Truth and Justice for Orgreave Campaign said the PM and Ms Rudd had sounded “really positive” about holding a probe.

Kevin Horne, a representative of the campaign, said: “Theresa May sounded really positive when we met her, and Amber Rudd was talking about formats for an enquiry and today we’ve just been custard pied. We’re really disappointed to say the least. The fight will go on.”

Sheffield Labour MP Louise Haigh, who has campaigned on the issue said the Home Secretary had previously said she was deciding on the format of an inquiry.

“Amber Rudd made it very clear at our last meeting with her that she would be considering what form any publication or inquiry would take. It wasn’t whether or not an inquiry would happen,” she said.

“She said, her exact words were, she had to decide what format it would take. It wasn’t a question of whether or not it would happen. She said the culture had changed and a light needed to be shone on these things.”

A Home Office source denied the claims and said it had only been suggested that a range of options were being considered.

Ms Rudd on Monday ruled out setting up a statutory inquiry or independent review into the notorious clash between police and miners at the coking plant.

Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary

She said in a written statement that there would "be very few lessons for the policing system today to be learned from any review of the events and practices of three decades ago".

The so-called Battle of Orgreave saw striking miners clash with riot police outside a coking plant in Yorkshire.

New evidence emerged this year from police officers who were at the confrontation, while the Independent Police Complaints Commission said last year there was "evidence of excessive violence by police officers, a false narrative from police exaggerating violence by miners, perjury by officers giving evidence to prosecute the arrested men, and an apparent coverup of that perjury by senior officers".

Campaigners say South Yorkshire Police colluded to manufacture statements which claimed miners were responsible for the violence, and that police took an extreme and violent approach.

A delegation of former miners met the Home Secretary last month to discuss the issue. It was reported that the Government was considering an inquiry; the IPCC has itself decided not to launch an investigation.

Kevin Horne, centre, with campaigners and MPs

Ms Rudd's statement said: "Over 30 years later, policing is very different and one of my key concerns as Home Secretary is to ensure there is a policing system which works effectively and fairly now. The policing landscape has changed fundamentally since 1984 – at the political, legislative and operational levels. The same is true also for the wider criminal justice system.

"There would therefore be very few lessons for the policing system today to be learned from any review of the events and practices of three decades ago. This is a very important consideration when looking at the necessity for an inquiry or independent review and the public interest to be derived from holding one.

"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.

"I believe that we should focus on continuing to ensure that the policing system is the best it can be for the future, including through reforms before Parliament in the Policing and Crime Bill, so that we can have the best possible policing both in South Yorkshire and across the country."

A number of Labour MPs criticised the decision. Labour's national campaign coordinator Jon Trickett said: "I represent many men who were at Orgreave. Justice hidden is justice denied. Labour will set up an Inquiry as soon as elected to office."

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