An independent review into the impact of policing during the 1980s miners’ strike is to be extended due to the amount of evidence put forward, including “powerful and moving” testimony.

The Scottish Government announced the independent review last June.

It has received 108 responses to a call for evidence, including submissions from the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Scotland and the Retired Police Officers Association Scotland.

A total of eight public meetings have been held in former mining communities across the country, which a total of 167 people attended.

Review leader John Scott QC said in an interim report: “We are extremely grateful to those who attended and shared their experience and views with us.

“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.

“Some were remanded in custody, especially if they were already on bail for similar allegations connected to the strike. Most were simply fined. Some were acquitted.

“Many lost their jobs, with their employers appearing to take a policy decision to dismiss regardless of the gravity of the allegation or the penalty imposed.

“Some of these men secured employment elsewhere, sometimes quickly but sometimes only after years. Some, especially because of having to declare their conviction, were unable to find other jobs.

“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 group also met retired police officers and examined official records.

The group was due to publish its recommendations in June but due to the extent of the evidence gathered, Mr Scott asked Justice Minister Humza Yousaf for extra time, which has been granted.

Mr Scott said: “In order to take full account of the evidence we have received, as well as the other material available to us, we decided that it would be necessary to ask for some more time to complete our final report, which was originally due to be submitted in June.

“I am grateful to the Cabinet Secretary, Mr Yousaf, for agreeing to this request.”

Humza Yousaf
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf agreed to the extension (Danny Lawson/PA)

Mr Yousaf welcomed the report and said: “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.

“A final report, setting out lessons learnt and making recommendations for any other action required, will follow at the end of the summer and be made publicly available.

“It is important that we recognise the generous contributions made to the review by those who were affected.

“I want this review to bring openness, understanding and a degree of closure to all those involved.”

Labour’s Neil Findlay, who campaigned for the review, said the level of submissions is “encouraging” and called for the review to consider pardons for those convicted.

The miners’ strike, which lasted from 1984 to 1985, took place after then Prime Minister Thatcher announced plans to close a number of pits which were deemed “inefficient”.

The UK Government has already ruled out an inquiry into the violent
confrontations between police and striking miners in Orgreave, South Yorkshire, in 1984.