Unfortunately, the home secretary Amber Rudd has rejected an inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave, Travis, A. from The Guardian has reported. Reasons for such decision included:
- A fact that no deaths or wrongful convictions occurred as a result of the clashes and
- Lack of possible lessons that the Police could learn from the inquiry.
This article will look into the two reasons stated above and explain why they do not apply to this case.
Even if no deaths were recorded as a result of the incident, the Police should still be held responsible for the wrongdoing. Of course, police officer’s job involves a lot of stress and they had to be ready to protect themselves if it comes to that, but if an unreasonable force was used, the authorities should act on the evidence, punish the ones who caused harm and ensure the public that they can trust the justice system. At the end of the day such inquiries are not always about wrongful convictions or deaths; they are about unacceptable actions that come from people who are supposed to protect us. Harm is still a crime, even if it does not lead to death.
Even if all reasonable steps to avoid a similar scenario in the future have already been taken, as stated in reason No 2; the public needs to know that something is being done. The public needs to know they can trust the police and other authorities. Therefore, a link between the events that took place in Orgreave and police practices introduced afterwards to avoid similar matters should be shown to the public. And what is the best way to show such a link? The best way is to find out exactly what went wrong and why.
Will this strategy work, some of you might ask. Let’s use police street patrols as an example. A chance that police officers will be patrolling at the same time as when a crime occurs and at the same place as where a crime occurs is extremely low, making police patrols inefficient. But we use these patrols anyway. Why? Because many people feel safer, when they see police officers on patrol in their neighbourhoods. When applying the same logic to Orgreave case, people should feel safer if they know that the events of that day have been analysed and reasonable steps taken to avoid similar events.
Another reason for an inquiry to take place is the number of high profile scandals involving South Yorkshire police. For instance, Battle of Orgreave as the reason for this article in 1984, then the well-known Hillsborough disaster in 1989 and a 16 year fight against the ignorance of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013. Even though there is a considerable time gap between Hillsborough disaster and Rotherham scandal, the same police officers might be involved, meaning that something is going seriously wrong with this police force.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and I am looking forward to reading any comments you may want to share!
For more information and source materials about Orgreave inquiry, please see the following links: