Officer shares experience of Miners’ Strike in Easington

In August 1984 there was unrest in the former colliery village of Easington in East Durham after police managed to get a working miner into the pit despite fierce opposition. After pickets trashed pit offices and damaged cars large numbers of officers from neighbouring forces were drafted in to keep order. It would remain that way until the strike ended the following March.

During the disorder one young miner was arrested and the moment was captured by photographer Keith Pattison. After it was published in the Northern Echo, as part of a series of articles to mark the 40th anniversary of the start of the strike on March 6, the officer on the left of the picture got in touch. He explained the circumstances behind the man's arrest.

The 75-year-old said: "We were called in one day and they said: 'You are going to Easington tomorrow.' "It was an early morning start. We got there and there was a full-scale battle in full flow.

"He was shouting and waving his arms about and shouting threats at the miners' that were going in. "He went to court but I cannot remember what happened to him." Get more from The Northern Echo and stay informed with subscription now available on special offer for two months for just GBP2.

Click here[1] The officer, who lives on Teesside but asked not to be named, was 15 years into a 30-year career with Cleveland Police at the time. He said police did not take sides during the strike and saw it as their job to maintain law and order.

He said: "It did not bother me what it was about. It was just a job to go to. "It was pretty scary at times when they started throwing objects at you and what have you.

You had to retreat and get helmets on. "I could see what they were fighting for but that is about it. "I understood why they were doing but I did not agree with their tactic of hoying bricks."

"We went to different places and faced different scenarios." The former road traffic officer said he went to Orgreave but was not near scene of the infamous 'battle' at the coking plant. He added: "You could hear it in the background, the shouting and that but we were not involved.

We were sat on the motorway." He said he also spent time policing the picket lines in Derbyshire. He said: "We got talking to the miners.

They gave their point of view and we gave ours but some of them were very anti-police." Most read: The Northern Echo:

The Northern Echo has interviewed several former miners from County Durham who said policing they witnessed was 'severe' and 'militaristic'. Former miners also claim they were misrepresented as the aggressors against police by news outlets at the time. The officer said: "I think the media got it about right because one day we went to Easington and they had smashed windows and overturned cars, which wasn't right.

"It was the guy's rights to go to work to earn a living and to feed his family. "We were apprehensive at the start because we did not know what to expect. "They did try to intimidate us, but it was water off a ducks back

"We gave as good as got.

There was a lot of camaraderie between the officers.

"It was one for all with everyone looking after everyone else."


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