The new Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced she is considering a ‘fundamental re-organisation’ of South Yorkshire Police.
The announcement was made in the House of Commons this afternooon.
Rudd’s words came after former Conservative Cabinet minister Sir Eric Pickles said South Yorkshire Police ‘seems to be a force that has institutionalised dysfunctionality’.
He added that the future of the force is linked to the findings on the Battle of Orgreave, in which 96 pickets were arrested, but cases later dropped and damages paid out by the force.
The force has been involved in major national controversy around the Hillsborough inquests and the Rotherham scandal.
Amber Rudd told Parliament that the government ‘take all allegations of police misconduct very seriously’, and said Orgreave was one of her ‘most important issues’, and confirmed that she will meet the campaign leader in September.
She said: “The Government take all allegations of police misconduct very seriously and the then Home Secretary considered the campaign’s analysis in detail.
“I have today written to the campaign secretary, Barbara Jackson, to say that I would be very happy to meet her and the campaign immediately after the summer recess.“This is one of the most important issues in my in-tray as a new Home Secretary, and I can assure him that I will be considering the facts very carefully over the summer. I hope to come to a decision as quickly as possible following that.
“I have decided that I will look at it over the summer—it is substantial—and will meet the campaign group in September. I will come to a decision as soon as I can after that. I hesitate to say anything firmer than that, but I reassure you that I will come to a decision as soon as I can.”
Sir Eric Pickles added: “The future of South Yorkshire Police is clearly linked to this. These allegations are historical, but if we bring them together with more contemporary problems it seems to be a force that has institutionalised dysfunctionality.
“Surely my right hon. Friend now must look at the future function of South Yorkshire Police’s management, and not shy away from any fundamental reorganisation?”
Amber Rudd replied: “My right hon. friend will not be surprised to hear that we are doing exactly that. He draws an important point to our attention, and it is particularly that issue that the IPCC is looking at. I can reassure you that the work of the IPCC will not delay the work that I will be doing in looking at this particular case.”
South Yorkshire Police has been contacted for comment.