Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign

11 March 2013

Campaigners are calling for a public inquiry into police action at Orgreave cokeworks during the 1984-85 miners' strike. An e-petition calls for a full investigation ‘into the policing and subsequent statements recorded by the police at the time’.

On 18 June 1984, during the UK miners’ strike, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) organised a mass picket of the British Steel coking plant in Orgreave, South Yorkshire. The intention was to blockade the plant, where coal was turned into coke for use in steel production, and force its temporary closure.

The NUM was represented by 5,000 to 6,000 pickets from across the UK.Aware of the plan, the police organised counter-measures and deployed between 4,000 and 8,000 officers to the area, including mounted police. Most had little or no experience in dealing with such events.

Following the events, ninety-five picketers were charged with riot, unlawful assembly and similar offences. A number of these were put on trial in 1987 but the trials collapsed. A number of lawsuits were subsequently brought against the police for assault, unlawful arrest and malicious prosecution. In 1991, South Yorkshire Police were forced to pay half a million pounds to 39 miners who were arrested in the confrontation. Nevertheless, no officers were disciplined for misconduct.

Lesley Boulton,a member of Women Against Pit Closures, was the subject of an iconic photograph taken on that day, which showed a mounted police officer attempting to strike her with his baton. She has launched an appeal for a full public inquiry into the statements recorded by the police at the time. The aim is to uncover any lies by the police and expose the culture of fabricating evidence which existed at the time and was still not corrected by the time of the Hillsborough disaster.

To sign her e-petition and pledge your support for the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, visit the Home Office webpage

Photo: Lesley Boulton at Orgreave © John Harris

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