Miners’ W/E School 1984

Amber Current Affairs Unit

Documentation of the Miners’ Weekend School held in Ashington 1984.

In September 1984, a Miners’ Weekend School was held in Ashington, at which the rank and file, together with activists involved in the Miners’ Strike of that year, listened to presentations and discussed the topics of policing, the courts, the media, strategies and the work of the support groups. A similar weekend school the year before had discussed the issues that were then leading towards the strike – documentation of this earlier event can be seen in News from Durham and the rushes from that Amber Current Affairs Unit viseo.

SESSION 1: Policing

0.00: Lewisham. Riots in Brixton. Police force in military style against working class. Third Force – not part of armed forces but better organised than regular constabulary. 1960s – a central national strategy. A Pocket within every constabulary force. 43 forces. High trained, special technology and equipment. social control. combating riots, disturbances. London – Special Control Group. Late 60s – Instant Response Unit. District Support Units. 11-20 thousand officers. Miners Strike – the first time a national unit has been formed. Transit Vans. 3 vans to a unit. 11 to every van. 33 officers per unit. County force – 3/4 units. London – units trained every day of the week. West and East London. Plastic bullets. CS gas. Baton techniques imported from Japan and used in the army. Police officers trained by military officers. Shield use. Picket Lines. Snatch squads. Surveillance. Administrative duties.

8.20: 1972. Battle of Saltly Gate. Preparation. Development of strategies. Civil Contingency Committee. Major confrontation between the NUM and the State. Executive drop constabulary autonomy. Geographical restrictions. Corruption of Metropolitan Police. Scotland Yard – control all forces in the county. National Riot Force. Drawn together to fight NUM. Thatcher knows its a life or death struggle. Trade Unions not recognising a final conflict.

16.40: Police, the law. 1964 Police Act. Common Law. Arresting people.
19.35: Restricting, imitating off the picket lines. Objectives. Paramilitary riot force gained ascendancy in police force. Polaroid photographs. Bail condition. to stop going n=back on the picket line. NGA Warrington. Police and Evidence Bill (1984). Custody for questioning, 2 days before being charged. Fingerprinting. Middle class opposed Bill. Where were the Trade Unionists or working class representatives? Setting up of road blocks, pattern of crime. Nottinghamshire. Working outside due process.

27.50: Due process. Sunderland Police. Conduct of the police. Police van. Consett and Stanley, Durham Police Station. Members need to ask to see the solicitors. Jack Dormant MP.Murton, Durham.
Inspector Twydall and Mr Hewitt. Sunderland Magistrate. Ambrose Bierce Devils Dictionary.

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