I DO sometimes wonder who would want to be a police officer in modern Britain. Not only do they have to confront all the usual suspects of the criminal fraternity, but they are now assailed on all sides by the “liberal left” intelligentsia. Indeed, rarely a week goes by without the PC BBC castigating the police for some alleged misdemeanour.
And then there are the posturing politicians: the Home Secretary and the Shadow Home Secretary seem to be vying with each other to see who can be “tough on the police and tough on the procedures of the police”.
In this context, Yvette Cooper’s recent article (The Yorkshire Post, June 18) was a curious conceit; not so much a tract for the times as the polemic of a political partisan.
Ms Cooper sought to advance the cause of the so called Orgreave “Truth and Justice Campaign” by calling for a full inquiry into the actions of the police during the infamous “Battle Of Orgreave” in 1984.
A preliminary investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Authority (IPCC) has already cost the taxpayer several hundred thousand pounds. It was instigated after allegations were levelled against South Yorkshire Police in a BBC programme. The IPCC is due to present its findings.
Doubts have been raised about the political impartiality of the IPCC, however, given that commissioner Cindy Butts is a former Labour Party researcher and even the former Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett has questioned the validity of this cause célèbre of the Left.
Police officers should be commended, not condemned, for what they did that day; and all the other days of the miners’ strike. They are the unsung heroes of that violent dispute; the thin blue line that thwarted mob rule.
Is Ms Cooper seriously suggesting that a mob of 10,000 strong constituted a “peaceful picket”? The clear intent was to force the Orgreave plant to close.
The police, their dogs and horses were subjected to a barrage of missiles and violent assault. They sustained many injuries, but they stood firm. And they displayed exemplary courage when they charged and dispersed that violent mob.
Few could imagine what the police had to endure. The wife of a police dog handler told me that her husband was physically sick each morning before going on duty to police the picket lines. The call for this inquiry is not motivated by a desire for truth or justice, but political retribution which is the Left’s raison d’être.