IT MAY be more than 30 years since the end of the miners’ strike, but in communities across Scotland the effects of the year-long action, and in particular how it was policed, are still being felt.

That is perhaps unsurprising, given that an estimated 500 Scottish miners were arrested during the course of the strike, with many not only losing their jobs but finding themselves unable to secure new work as a consequence.

Yet what exactly happened during that time - and why - has never been properly understood, which is why earlier this year then justice secretary Michael Matheson commissioned a review that aims to get to the bottom of how the strike was policed and what the lasting impact of that has been.

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For John Scott QC, who is leading the review on the Scottish Government’s behalf, the starting point is that many people within mining communities feel their lives were ruined because “some people were charged or prosecuted for things that in other situations they wouldn’t have been taken to court for at all”.

The impact of that, he said, has been felt by “individuals, families, children and - within small communities - the whole community”.

While a major focus is to get out into these communities to hear people’s stories, Mr Scott said he and the other members of the review group are also seeking testimony from those who were involved in policing the strike, not least because they came from the affected communities too.

“It’s important to remember that the police and their families were affected as well,” he said. “There are officers who policed the strike who are former miners or from mining families and the mistrust and animosity that’s felt towards the police is a continuing legacy of the strike. That’s had an impact on the community too.”

Mr Scott conceded that this approach may mean the review’s findings will not make for easy reading for everyone, but he stressed that the aim is “to bring an independent view and hopefully a detailed legal analysis to a difficult area”.

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“We want to arrive at a description of the event,” he said. “It might be that we won’t be able to distil it into something that everyone agrees with. There are myths that have built up around the strike as well as some awful truths and what might happen is that we recognise a truth for some and not for others.”

Despite this, Mr Scott said the review group - which includes former Labour and independent politician Dennis Canavan, former assistant chief constable Kate Thomson and University of Glasgow public law professor Jim Murdoch - has already received significant input from both the mining and the policing side, with the general consensus being that regardless of the outcome the review is a positive step.

“In the first couple of weeks we had over 20 responses. When it comes to public consultations that’s a lot in the early stages - usually you get your responses on the last day,” Mr Scott said.

“The vast majority of people seem very appreciative of the opportunity [to take part] because there’s a sense that people haven’t been listened to at all. Some people have talked about how important it is for them personally to feel finally that someone is listening.”

While Mr Scott said that some on the policing side “have adopted a more cynical approach” because they feel “it’s all about finger pointing”, he noted that it is too early to say what the ultimate aim of the review will be.

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Though there have long been demands for a full public inquiry into how the strike was policed across the UK as a whole, in 2016 then home secretary Amber Rudd ruled out holding an investigation into what happened at Orgreave Coking Plant in South Yorkshire, one of the strike’s main flashpoints. The UK Government also decided against looking deeper at whether there had been any political interference during the entire dispute, something that mining communities have long held to be the case.

The findings of the Scottish review may prompt the UK Government to reconsider its position, although Mr Scott said that “what’s done with our work afterwards is for others to decide”.

In the meantime, affected people can meet with the review group in Cumnock, Lochgelly and Dalkeith in the coming weeks to make sure their views are heard before Mr Scott submits his report next June.