Policing during miners' strike: independent review

Closed 12 Dec 2018

Opened 3 Sep 2018

Overview

This is a general call for evidence on the impact of policing on affected communities in Scotland during the period of the miners’ strike from March 1984 to March 1985. Evidence is sought from affected individuals and representative groups. The evidence gathered in this exercise will help inform the report and any recommendations made by the Independent Review to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf MSP.

Responses are requested by Friday 30 November 2018. Please make your response in no more than 2,000 words. 

Policing during miners' strike: independent review

Role of the Review Group

On 7 June 2018 the then Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson MSP made a statement to the Scottish Parliament, confirming the establishment of an independent review, to be led by John Scott QC Solicitor Advocate.

The Review Group is completed by an advisory panel comprising Jim Murdoch (Professor of Public Law at Glasgow University), Kate Thomson (former Assistant Chief Constable) and Dennis Canavan (former MP and MSP).  

The remit of the review is to investigate and report on the impact of policing on communities in Scotland that were affected by the 1984/85 miners' strike.

It is envisaged that the review will:

  • provide an interim report to Ministers which sets out initial findings by January 2019
  • carry out further necessary engagement and provide a final report by June 2019, which sets out lessons learned and makes recommendations for any further action required

It is not expected that the review will deal with individual cases or specific events[1], but will:

  • consider matters that fall under the devolved remit of Scottish Ministers
  • take full account of previous investigations into the events of the time
  • review the appropriate documents that are available

See the Cabinet Secretary's June 2018 statement and accompanying news release, and the dedicated web-page for the Review - https://beta.gov.scot/groups/independent-review-policing-miners-strike

Background

The 1984 to 1985 miners' strike is widely regarded as having been one of the UK's most significant industrial actions of the post-war era, with the policing of the dispute – especially at certain flashpoints – having been an aspect of particular concern. The consequences of the dispute, including its policing, have been long-lasting.

In 2016 the UK Government considered the case for establishing an Inquiry or independent review into the events that occurred in June 1984 at one of the strike's main flashpoints, Orgreave Coking Plant in South Yorkshire. In October 2016, however the then Home Secretary, Amber Rudd MP, announced that there was not sufficient basis to instigate either a statutory inquiry or an independent review.

In November 2016 the Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson wrote to Ms Rudd to convey the Scottish Government's view that the UK Government should commission and appoint an independent UK-wide investigation into any political interference during the dispute. The UK Government decided not to commission such an investigation.

In September 2017 Mr Matheson confirmed, in answer to a Parliamentary Question, that the Scottish Government was actively considering a way forward as regards commissioning an inquiry into issues around the policing of the 1984-85 miners' strike in Scotland.

Review activities

In addition to the Call for Evidence, the Review Group will engage proactively with those affected and other stakeholders, via face to face discussions, focus groups and/or public meetings. In consultation with representative groups and interested parties, public meetings in former mining communities will be arranged to take place later this year. In consultation with representative groups and interested parties, similar meetings will take place involving those who were involved in policing the strike.

The dedicated website will be updated with information about the Review's meetings and other activities.

 

[1] Dealing with challenges to individual convictions is a matter for the High Court of Justiciary or the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission. Anyone who believes that they have suffered a miscarriage of justice should contact the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission.

 

Why We Are Consulting

Evidence is sought from affected individuals and representative groups. The evidence gathered in this exercise will help inform the report and any recommendations made by the Independent Review to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf MSP.

Audiences

  • People of Scotland

Interests

  • Law and Order