Commons committee calls for secret files to be examined to avoid Battle of Orgreave cover-up

The Battle of Orgreave
The Battle of Orgreave
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Secret files which could contain information about the Battle of Orgreave should be examined to assess whether they can be made public, an influential Commons committee has said.

A series of intelligence reports and other files relating to the national miners' strike, during which police officers and picketing miners clashed at a coking plant in Orgreave in 1984, were

previously held by the now-defunct Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and are categorised as containing 'personal sensitive information' and due to remain closed until 2066.

But Home Affairs Select Committee chairwoman Yvette Cooper has written to Home Secretary Amber Rudd, asking her to set up a review of the files to see whether they can be released, with redactions if necessary.

She said there could be 'no more secrets or cover-ups' about what happened.

The Government has ruled out holding an inquiry into the events at Orgreave, which resulted in scores of miners being charged before the cases all collapsed at court.

Labour MP Ms Cooper said: "People want to know the truth about what happened at Orgreave, especially in the coalfields.

"Little by little, our questions are uncovering what files and information are still held. Some of the intelligence files we have identified are being withheld until 2066. We have asked the Home Secretary to get those files independently reviewed to see if they can be released instead."

The committee contacted 18 forces that contributed to policing at the Orgreave coking plant in June 1984 as well as the National Police Chiefs' Council, which replaced ACPO.

The Metropolitan Police were asked if they held the operational policing plan for the day on which the confrontation took place, but Scotland Yard said operations on the day were led by South Yorkshire Police.

Ms Cooper said: "This correspondence also confirms that most of the Orgreave files are still with South Yorkshire Police. That means the most important thing is for those files to be properly reviewed and made public too.

"People in coalfield communities need to know what happened at Orgreave and deserve access to the truth. There must be no more secrets or cover-ups. That is why we keep pushing to get to the bottom of this."