This is the archived version of Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner. To view the new website click here
Banner Image

30 Years On – Northumbria’s Police & Crime Commissioner supports demand for answers

3rd March 2015

Northumbria’s Police & Crime Commissioner Vera Baird QC, has once again called upon the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to fully commit to investigating what happened at Orgreave in South Yorkshire.

Mrs Baird is also supporting the demand by Labour Member of Parliament for Wansbeck Ian Lavery for an independent inquiry covering the policing of the strike in every town and village, including the north east.

Vera Baird said: “I remember the Miners’ Strike like it was yesterday; I saw the effect it had on families in communities across the north east and beyond.

“In South Yorkshire, Orgreave was a clash between police and miners and South Yorkshire police need to account for their actions. Despite being 30 years on, miners and families deserve answers to what happened and why evidence was fabricated which could have condemned men merely picketing to save their jobs to prison for life.”

Mrs Baird was a Barrister at the time and part of the team that successfully defended 15 of the 93 miners arrested at Orgreave; the trial collapsed after 16 weeks when it became clear police evidence was unreliable. Officers admitted that much of their statements had been dictated to them by local detectives.

The Commissioner added: “South Yorkshire detectives told arresting officers that they were merely trying to set the picture out, but they were dictating scenes into the statements of officers that those officers had not seen and which, in many cases, were not happening at the time of the arrests. They were ‘teeing up’ perverting the course of justice.

“Here in our region, we saw the police and miners go head to head. Ian Lavery is right to ask for a broader investigation. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is running out of time for trust to be sustained on Orgreave alone.  One wants to have faith in the publicly established statutory organisation that investigates complaints against the police, but it’s impossible not to ask yourself ‘what’s keeping them?’”

Last year, the Leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband agreed that there should be a proper investigation about what happened at Orgreave.

Vera Baird added: “I’m very hopeful that after the General Election in a few weeks, Ed Miliband as Prime Minister will be able to help resolve the many unanswered questions.”