Socialist Worker

Cops’ filth won’t wash

Issue No. 2525

The picket at Orgreave

The picket at Orgreave

More former police officers have spoken out against the policing of striking miners during the 1984 Battle of Orgreave.

The BBC this week quoted one officer who said his orders were to “use as much force as possible”. “It was a licence to do what we wanted which I didn’t think was right,” he said.

Apparently everybody now wants to make amends. South Yorkshire Police (SYP) has promised to cooperate with any inquiry into Orgreave. But SYP doesn’t want justice for miners—it wants to repair its reputation.

And some are ready to help it. Andy Burnham told the Labour Party conference last month, “Today’s police officers don’t deserve the clouds of the past hanging over them.”

But the police should not be rehabilitated. They protect those at the top of society—and keep everyone else down.

That’s why cops treat working class people as scum. It’s why there are scandals such as Orgreave and Hillsborough. But the fact that campaigners have stopped Orgreave being swept under the carpet should give us hope.

When ordinary people come together and fight, they show their real power. That’s why the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike so terrified the ruling class.

Campaigning has forced more nervous cops to come out of the woodwork over Orgreave.

Only more campaigning can win real justice.

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