Lessons from Orgreave: Police Power and the Criminalization of Protest

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In October 2016, the Home Secretary ruled out a public inquiry into the ‘Battle of Orgreave', arguing that ‘very few lessons’ could be learned from a review of practices of three decades ago. It was suggested that policing has undergone a progressive transformation since the 1984–5 miners’ strike, at political, legal, and operational levels. This article, in contrast, charts a significant expansion of state control over public protest since the strike, including a proliferation of public order offences and an extension of pre-emptive policing powers. Whilst concerns have been raised about the impact of these developments on protest rights, there is an absence of socio-legal research into the operation of public order powers in practice. In this article, I begin to fill this lacuna. Drawing on three empirical case-studies of protesters’ experiences of arrest and the criminal justice process, I highlight the relevance of Orgreave for contemporary policing practice.




Gilmore, J. (2019). Lessons from Orgreave: Police Power and the Criminalization of Protest. Journal of Law and Society, 46(4), 612–639. https://doi.org/10.1111/jols.12190

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