News In Focus
Interim report published of review of miners' strike policing
Additional time has been requested by the solicitor advocate leading the independent review of the impact on communities of the policing of the 1984-85 miners' strike, in his interim report on the review.
John Scott QC requested an extension from the original target date of June 2019 to August, "in order to do justice to the considerable evidence which has been submitted to the review", whilst still enabling the report to be available for the start of the parliamentary term after the summer recess. Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has agreed the request.
In his interim report Mr Scott records that the review has held eight public meetings in former mining areas and engaged closely with the National Union of Mineworkers and the Retired Police Officers Association Scotland.
"We heard powerful and moving testimony from individuals and their families who had been very badly affected by the strike, especially those who were arrested, charged, prosecuted, convicted and sentenced", he writes. "For some individuals and their families, the lasting damage was obvious. The meetings confirmed that, as a result, strong feelings persist on the subject of the 1984-85 strike and its policing."
The review's call for evidence generated 108 responses, and the Scottish Government is tendering for assistance with analysing these, along with the notes of the public meetings.
Mr Scott continues: "In view of the amount of evidence, it seems to me that the process of writing and revising the final report, with the assistance of advisory panel colleagues and the secretariat, will take several weeks if not months. It is crucial that we make the most of the important evidence which has been offered to help us to identify conclusions, recommendations and possible lessons for the future. As yet, we have reached no conclusions although certain key themes have emerged...
"In the circumstances, it seems to me that, in order to do justice to the considerable evidence which has been submitted to the review, it would be better to take a little longer to produce the final report."
Mr Yousaf commented: "I welcome the interim report and in particular the positive engagement undertaken with key individuals, representative organisations and those employed in the mining industry and police at the time, their wider families and communities. This is reflective of the strength of feeling still present within our mining heartlands. That is why it is important that careful attention is applied in analysing the evidence gathered.
"In light of the extent of this evidence, I have agreed to a request from John Scott for the review group to be given a short extension."
Click here to view the interim report.