Sheffield MP, Louise Haigh, has today written to Home Secretary telling her that the case for an Orgreave Inquiry is now 'overwhelming' following events of recent weeks.
Louise told the Home Secretary that verdicts following the Hillsborough Inquests, the revelations detailed in the Yorkshire Post which unmasked chilling similarities between the actions of SYP at Hillsborough and Orgreave and the extraordinarily welcome statement of South Yorkshire Police's interim Chief Constable welcoming a fresh inquiry.
The letter is reproduced below:
I am writing regarding the Orgreave legal submission and the wider campaign for truth and justice. I am writing primarily to offer my perspective on the developments of recent weeks; developments which, in my opinion, make the case for a public inquiry into the events at and surrounding Orgreave overwhelming.
Firstly as you know, the Hillsborough Inquests after twenty seven years of injustice exonerated fans delivering, amongst other highly significant rulings, a verdict of unlawful killing. This built on the vital work of the Hillsborough Independent Panel which found that South Yorkshire Police had altered hundreds of statements with the intention of ‘deflecting blame’.
Secondly, media reports unmasked the previously redacted sections of the IPCC report from June 2015 into the events surrounding Orgreave which revealed striking similarities between the personnel and alleged practices of South Yorkshire Police at Orgreave and at Hillsborough. Similarities which I found to be chilling and which, in my view, render the need for truth utterly essential.
I say this because, as you know from our meeting with those affected, trust in those mining communities will never truly be restored until we find out the entire truth.
Thirdly and perhaps most significant of all, the public statement made by the interim Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police on Thursday 5th May was a hugely significant intervention. He said and I quote:
“The Hillsborough Inquests have brought into sharp focus the need to confront the past. I would therefore welcome an independent assessment of Orgreave, accepting that the way in which this is delivered is a matter for the Home Secretary”
Clearly, with the full cooperation of South Yorkshire Police which would be forthcoming establishing the full truth of that day becomes significantly easier. It is clear to me that unless we discover the truth of Orgreave we will not get to the bottom of the alleged malpractice at South Yorkshire Police in the 1980s. This of course has its own implications for ongoing enquiries relating to Hillsborough.
I urge you to seize the opportunity to build bridges between the police and those still troubled by the actions and direction of certain forces in the 1980s. Those still troubled by how and whether a police force – ostensibly there to serve the community was used against one.
These are questions which serve as an open wound which have not healed to this day. And I would just say that as a former special constable, I know that the work of police officers is essential and a credit to this country but the cloud of past wrongdoing and alleged wrongdoing continues to hang by their senior officials continues to cause harm today.
Thank you for the substantial personal contribution you have made to the search for justice for the families of Hillsborough. I sincerely hope you will now decide that it is time we got to the bottom of the events of that decade which still scar communities throughout South Yorkshire and around the country."