UNISON has repeatedly called for an independent and thorough investigation into what really happened at the “Battle of Orgreave” during the miners’ strike.
The official version of events – put forward by the police – was that the miners were to blame for the violence that erupted that day, and that the police were acting in self-defence. But we in the labour movement have always known that wasn’t the real story.
Horses and dogs set on picketers.
This wasn’t a standard police action, it was an ambush intended teach the miners a lesson through overwhelming force, in an example of what Labour MP and historian Tristram Hunt has called “a brutal example of legalised state violence”.
And in the aftermath considerable effort appears to have been spent painting striking miners – standing up for their communities and their livelihoods – as mindless thugs.
The allegations against the police are incredibly serious, including officers filing reports on arrests they didn’t carry out. All point towards an insidious culture within South Yorkshire police.
After the outcome of the Hillsborough inquiry earlier this year, it’s now time this force is also held to account for what happened in Orgreave.
This was not the only wrongdoing perpetuated by the police against striking miners, but it is perhaps the clearest example of police targeting striking workers in a seemingly pre-meditated and politically motivated attack.
The time has come for justice to be served and for the truth to be heard, in full, at long last.