A special investigation by the Nottingham Evening Post has prompted a four-day series of untold reports into the 1984-85 miners' strike. Inspired by a Freedom of Information request by The Guardian into the cost of policing the strike, the Evening Post contacted the Home Office and got dozens of Government documents about the strike.
The paper has now used the evidence to reveal what happened in Nottinghamshire during the strike, which prime minister Margaret Thatcher used to try to breaki British trade unions, and how the momentous industrial struggle was viewed by the country's top politicians of the day.
The Evening Post's first story revealed the sometimes violent treatment of women pickets by police. In a letter obtained by the paper, one woman writes: "Women were dragged to the police van with a brutality quite out of proportion to their size or any resistance they were offering.
"One woman was dragged by two officers, one of whom had his arm around her throat. 'Let her walk,' said one of the officers. 'No, let's drag her,' said the other."
The letter, which the woman sent to the Queen, was passed on to the Home Office. When Home Office officials looked into the woman's claims they admitted that some of her story was true.
One internal memo obtained by the paper reads: "Sadly, the complaints have to them a ring of truth."
Evening Post reporter David Marley said: "The Home Office sent us a whole load of documents. We went though them piece by piece very slowly, picking out what we thought was interesting to use as a basis for our stories.
"Obviously the time delay has made it tough to find people with first hand knowledge of the strike but he have spoken to people from the time who were also quoted in the letters and documents."
The Evening Post has also reported how the government originally ordered Nottinghamshire County Council to cover the cost of policing the strike in Nottingham – which ran up a bill of £52m.
In its two other articles, the paper reveals how the town of Shirebrook experienced lawlessness during the strike and how the former chief constable of Nottinghamshire police was investigated for contempt of court.
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