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Orgreave – the IPPC and DPP are not fit for purpose

OrgreaveAccountability in Britain has reached a new nadir today. The report that the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPPC) refuses to investigate claims of police criminality at the mass picket at Orgreave during the 1984-5 miners’ strike really stinks. They have already found evidence that police officers assaulted miners and then perverted the course of justice, committing perjury in later prosecutions which still failed. Even senior officers of the South Yorkshire police admit the perjury, but did not want it made public – who are they to block the course of justice? The IPCC in their report today try to dump blame on them for being complicit – so why is the IPCC now seeking to withdraw from the case?

The excuses the IPCC gives for their contemptible backing-off are shocking: too much time has passed for allegations of assault, misconduct and criminality in 1985 to be pursued. But the Hillsborough catastrophe of 1989 is still being pursued, although an attempt was made to close that down too and it was only resuscitated after painstaking forensic analysis of the relevant material by an independent body. It was the same South Yorkshire police who were involved in that too, clearly a police force out of control.

But in the case of Orgreave one has to look deeper as to why the police were allowed to behave, with impunity, as an uncontrolled paramilitary force. Clearly they had been given a political nod and wink from the Home Office and Downing Street to ‘do what was necessary’ to defeat, even in pitched battles, what Thatcher saw as ‘the enemy within’. Nor does the complicity of the Establishment stop there: who gave the instructions at the BBC that the missile-throwing by the miners, claimed by the police as to why mounted police charged without warning, but which actually happened after the police charge, should be reversed in TV pictures to give the impression that the miners started it? It is difficult not to believe that No.10 leaned on the BBC too, and it supinely succumbed.

There was clear evidence of perjury too. The IPCC report notes that one police officer forged another’s signature as a witness to his statement, yet both officers swore on oath that the signature was genuine. Unsurprisingly the report notes that “the original statement went missing from the court, in circumstances which remain unexplained”.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) accepted an independent investigation by Staffordshire police that there was evidence of perjury, but “concluded it was not in the public interest to prosecute”. That is the most revealing statement of all. What exactly are the grounds for deciding it was not in the public interest? Was there political interference in that decision too? What does it tell you about British justice under the malign influence of Establishment power that a huge physical assault by 6,000 paramilitary police on legally picketing miners can run into the legal sands on the flimsy pretext that it was “not in the public interest to prosecute”?

4 Comments

  1. Sue says:

    Not in the Tories interests they mean!

  2. John P Reid says:

    Paramilitary force, but without the guns, on legally picketing miners apart from the strike being illegal,as Scargill didn’t ballot members,I’m still waiting for Kim Howells to face a attempting to pervert the course of justice charge after the miners he sent to the bridge to protest ,dropped a brick killing a man(Howells never expected the to do that) bi put in hearing it,he wen to the NUam office shredded evidence to hide who was there, ok,they were found guilty anyway, but had they not have been he would have covered up,he knew who. They were, then told Scargill a lie, those protesters weren’t part of the strike, which was a lie Scargill repeated.

    1. Robert says:

      When I cannot sleep at night, I come on her to see what this moron has written,.

      1. john P reid says:

        thought you siad you had no interest in anyhting i had to write

        is it moronic to criticse those who tried to pervert the course of justice?

        over to Tom Harris on this one, labour should try to show its forward direction ,by calling for a inwuiry into the 1984 miners strike…..

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