Socialist Worker

South Yorkshire Police stumble from crisis to crisis

Issue No. 2503

South Yorkshire Police in Orgreave crisis...

The battle of Orgreave

The battle of Orgreave (Pic: John Sturrock)

The acting chief constable of South Yorkshire Police (SYP) has called for an “independent assessment of Orgreave”.

This follows growing demands for an inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave, which took place during the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike in June 1984.

Police attacked picketing miners, then falsely accused them of rioting.

The tactics of smearing miners are similar to those used against Liverpool fans in the wake of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. Redacted documents from the Independent Police Complaints Commission show that some senior SYP officers and a solicitor were involved in both the aftermath of Orgreave and Hillsborough.

Dave Jones is the third person to hold the title of SYP chief constable within the space of a week.

He was still acting chief constable of SYP as Socialist Worker went to press. But the cops are going through bosses quite quickly at the moment.

...South Yorkshire Police in lying crisis

Another week, another disturbing revelation about South Yorkshire Police (SYP). The force’s media officer last week complained that she’d been told to “spin” reporting of the Hillsborough inquests.

Hayley Court was employed by SYP as a media officer in relation to the inquests.

She said she was told, “Your job is to round up the media at the end of the day and tell them, ‘This is the line’.”

This involved highlighting evidence that suggested SYP failings were not to blame for the disaster.

It also involved stressing any negative evidence about fans.

Court said she complained but “faced criticism” in response and “felt bullied”.

She said, “The South Yorkshire Police, having made a full apology for the Hillsborough disaster in 2012, should not have been seeking to spread the blame onto others, and seeking to influence the media to take that line.

“South Yorkshire Police rely now on being a very different force from 1989, yet unfortunately there are still similarities.”

‘The Truth’ shows that Sun columnist lied

The Sun’s reviled columnist and former editor Kelvin MacKenzie has been caught out.

MacKenzie was responsible for the Sun front page in 1989. Headlined “The Truth”, it smeared Liverpool football fans in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster.

MacKenzie has tried to avoid responsibility by whining that the cops lied to him.

In his column in the Sun on Monday he wrote, “Superintendent David Duckenfield had stuck to the line that it was Liverpool fans who forced open the gates.

“I fell for the lies lock, stock and barrel.”

Except he knew that police opened the gates when “The Truth” front page was published. The page includes a photograph of Superintendent Roger Marshall. The caption underneath reads, “Opened the gate… Superintendent Marshall.”

The petrochemical company Ineos is hiring new managers and scientists with the “immediate intention” of pushing ahead with fracking in central Scotland.

They have licenses from the Tories.

But the Scottish government has a moratorium on fracking.

So the jobs might not be that taxing or the moratorium is for the chop.

EIGHT police forces are now probing allegations of election fraud over visits by the Tories’ battle bus. Prosecutions should start within a year of last May’s election but forces have asked for extra time. If criminal offences are proven, general election results could be overturned.

Streeting’s bleatings

Wes Streeting is nominally a Labour MP. This is an occasional series on his pearls of wisdom

Brother Streeting tweets, “Politics should be about positive ideas, we need to stop talking about ourselves.”

Wesley reviews his first year in parliament in a 1,314 word Facebook post about himself. He says “I really agonised over my vote on extending air strikes to Syria.”

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Article information

The Troublemaker
Tue 10 May 2016, 16:14 BST
Issue No. 2503
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