Orgreave inquiry decision ‘to be made in weeks’

Barbara Jackson, Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign.
Barbara Jackson, Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign.
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Orgreave campaigners are hoping for a Government decision on a public inquiry in the next fortnight.

Members of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign are to hold a rally at the site on Saturday to mark the 32nd anniversary of the infamous ‘Battle of Orgreave’.

It follows new calls for an independent public inquiry in light of the Hillsborough inquest verdicts, which revealed two senior police officers and a solicitor were linked to both investigations.

The Battle of Orgreave saw thousands of police officers and picketing miners clash.

Barbara Jackson, secretary of the campaign, said members of the public are welcome to attend the march and rally, which is to take place from 5pm at The Old Bridge, Orgreave Lane, Sheffield.

She said: “We are encouraging people to come along and bring placards and banners to the event to show support and put pressure on the Home Secretary Theresa May to order a public inquiry into the vicious and unruly policing of picketing miners, wrongful arrests and the subsequent falsification of police evidence.

“The huge public and political demand for a Public Inquiry about Orgreave since the Hillsborough verdict has been really uplifting for the OTJC but the Government are dragging their heels in reaching a decision about whether to pursue a public inquiry.

“We are hoping however that we will get a positive response from the Home Office before the end of this month.”

It comes after Home Office Mike Penning suggested Home Secretary Theresa May may be willing to launch an inquiry.

He said: “The Home Secretary has a track record of looking at this sort of thing very open-mindedly, in perhaps a way that no other Home Secretary has ever done and Hillsborough has proven that.

“We will look at Orgreave, we’re still looking at it at the moment.”

Kevin Horne, a miner arrested on that day and a member of OTJC, said: “The experience at Orgreave was terrifying.

“We were only there because we were fighting for our jobs and the futures of our families and communities.

“We were met by a police force who literally ran riot, attacking and beating us at random with what seemed to be an intention to frighten us into submission.”

Among those who will be in attendance at the rally this weekend will be Hillsborough campaigner Margaret Aspinall and Sheffield MPs Louise Haigh and Gill Furniss.

Ninety-five people were arrested in the clash between picketing miners and police in June 1984.

All cases were abandoned due to unreliable evidence and South Yorkshire Police paid £425,000 in out-of-court settlements to 39 pickets.

The IPCC said last year it could not investigate complaints against officers due to the passage of time since the events.