Independent review of policing during Miners' Strike

Impact on mining communities to be focus.

Scotland will lead the way in the UK in ensuring the experiences of those affected by the Miners’ Strike in the 1980s are properly understood, the Justice Secretary has said.

Michael Matheson has ordered an independent review into the impact of policing on communities during the Miners’ Strike, from March 1984 to March 1985.

Mr Matheson has appointed John Scott QC Solicitor Advocate to lead the review, supported by an advisory panel comprising Dennis Canavan (former MP and MSP), Jim Murdoch (Professor of Public Law at the University of Glasgow) and Kate Thomson (former Assistant Chief Constable).

The Justice Secretary, who met with representatives from the National Union of Mineworkers prior to announcing the review to Parliament, said:

“Through this independent review, Scotland will lead the way in ensuring the experiences of those affected by the policing of the dispute in the 1980s are properly understood.

“This represented an extremely turbulent and difficult time for many mining communities in Scotland. And although more than three decades have passed, the feelings and scars from that time still run deep and there are questions that still need to be answered. 

“I want this review to bring openness, understanding and a degree of closure to all those involved. At the same time, I have written to the Home Secretary to ask that he seriously reconsider the UK Government’s position at this point - only a UK-wide investigation could fully explore concerns about the involvement of  the then UK Government.”

John Scott QC, who will lead the review, said:

“Although the Miners’ Strike took place over thirty years ago, I am aware that strong feelings about it persist in Scotland, especially in mining communities. Many documents of potential relevance are now publicly available. These will have to be considered but I am also keen to listen to individuals and communities directly affected.

“I am delighted that Dennis Canavan, Kate Thomson and Jim Murdoch have agreed to assist in this important review. Each brings considerable experience, knowledge and skills which will help to ensure that our review is thorough and robust.”


John Scott QC will lead the independent review. His remit will be:

To investigate and report on the impact of policing on affected communities in Scotland during the period of the miners’ strike from March 1984- March 1985.

The full Ministerial Statement to Parliament can be accessed here


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