In 2006 the Metropolitan Police released an inch-thick file on the Grunwick Industrial Dispute (1976-78), following a Freedom of Information request by journalist Solomon Hughes. The Met’s decision notice confirmed the existence of six relevant files, but concluded that the public interest test favoured only partial disclosure of documents. What was released, however, was a collection of Special Branch reports, police reports, and additional memoranda, documenting the policing of the Grunwick pickets, surveillance of strikers and their supporters between June and October 1977.
Ever since the Met have tried to bury the papers, refusing all other requests for the documents – which sounds very similar to what happened to the files on the Wapping strike, which we described here in Previously disclosed files made secret again.
As Solomon explains in his Morning Star article on the Grunwick files:
– They first said that they were “unable to locate the information” previously released.
– They then tried to refuse requests by calling them “vexatious”.
– They claimed that even admitting the papers existed might “undermine national security” and help “terrorist activity.”
– The Met finally claimed releasing the papers could mean “more crime and terrorist incidents would be committed, placing individuals at risk.”
While the Met wants to hide the papers, Solomon has shared the only surviving copy of the original files with the Special Branch Files Project – Thank you! – which we publish here to go with his article in the Morning Star Special Branch ‘Political Police’ Spied on Grunwick Strikers.
Also see: Grunwick Dispute – story
Remember, these are only the files that the authorities chose to disclose and may only represent a small fraction of the total files held. Also, what police officers report to their superiors is not necessarily true.