At OUSU Council on Wednesday of 5th week Michaelmas Term 2016 (9th of November 2016), a motion was passed mandating the OUSU Sabbatical Officers to write to the Home Secretary condemning her decision to reject any form of public inquiry into the actions of the police at the Orgreave coking plant on 18th June 1984 during the miners’ strike of 1984-5 and calling for her to reconsider, to express solidarity with the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) and to from now on take up all practical opportunities to positively contribute to its work throughout the ongoing struggle for a full public inquiry including by publicising the campaign’s work and facilitating their activities where possible, and to urge the University to do the same. The OUSU Sabbatical Officers have delivered on this mandate, and continue to do so by publicising and supporting the OTJC Campaign where possible.
In particular, we would like to share with you the Home Office’s response to the letter written by Jack Hampton, OUSU President, on behalf of the Sabbatical Officer and OUSU Council:
Dear Mr Hampton,
Thank you for your letter of 17 January to the Home Secretary about her decision not to establish an inquiry into the events that occurred at the Orgreave coking plant in June 1984 and subsequently. Your letter has been forwarded to the Direct Communications Unit for a reply.
The Home Secretary has carefully considered a submission from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) on the need for an inquiry relating to the policing of events at Orgreave in 1984, and met the OTJC and other campaign supporters (including the former Shadow Home Secretary) on 13 September to discuss their concerns. She acknowledged that it had been a difficult decision to make.
In determining whether or not to establish a statutory inquiry or other review, we considered a number of factors, reviewed a range of documents, carefully scrutinised the arguments contained in the Campaign's submission and spoke to members of the Campaign. We concluded that neither an inquiry nor a review was required to allay public concern at this stage, more than 30 years after the events in question.
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.
Crucially, there have been very significant changes to policing since 1984, at every level, including major reforms to criminal procedure, changes to public order policing and practice, stronger external scrutiny and greater local accountability.
The focus should now be on continuing to ensure that the policing system is the best it can be for the future, including through reforms currently before Parliament in the Policing and Crime Bill, so that the public can have the best possible policing both in South Yorkshire and across the country.
We hope that as a result of receiving letters such as the one written by the OUSU Sabbatical Officers, the Home Office has realised the sheer strength and breadth of national support for the OTJC. We stand by our condemnation of the decision not to establish a statutory inquiry or other review into the policing events at Orgreave in 1984 and OUSU will continue to support the OTJC and publicise their Campaign where possible.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please do contact OUSU President, Jack Hampton: firstname.lastname@example.org
Further useful contacts:
OUSU Democratic Support Officer, Josh O’Connor: email@example.com
For further information on the OTJC’s work: otjc.org.uk