Police watchdog slammed by MPs over Orgreave decision

Miners Strike 1984'Orgreave Coking Plant'Police with riot shields'Arthur Scargill
Miners Strike 1984'Orgreave Coking Plant'Police with riot shields'Arthur Scargill
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The police watchdog’s report into the handling of violence during the 1984 miners’ strike calls into question whether the body is ‘fit for purpose’, a former shadow minister has warned.

Labour’s Helen Jones said there was ‘deep concern’ that the Independent Police Complaints Commission had recommended no further action in relation to the ‘Battle of Orgeave’ 31 years ago.

A total of 96 picketing miners were arrested but the cases against them were later dropped.

It has announced it will not be investigating the allegations of serious misconduct against South Yorkshire Police, suggesting that doing so would require a Hillsborough-style public inquiry.

The Warrington North MP, formerly a shadow justice and home office minister, said: “There is deep concern the recent IPCC report into events at Orgreave recommended no further action despite finding evidence of serious criminality during and after those demonstrations.

“Can you ensure the home secretary comes to the House to make a statement because these events have ensured a denial of justice to those people involved at Orgreave. They also call into question whether the IPCC is fit for purpose.”

Earlier this week, Commons Speaker John Bercow urged Labour’s youngest MP Louise Haigh, from Sheffield Heeley, to seek a parliamentary debate on the subject.

Campaigners called for a Hillsborough-style inquiry in the aftermath of the IPCC’s announcement, which came more than two years after the force referred itself to the body.

South Yorkshire Police - which is already under intense scrutiny over its role in the Hillsborough disaster - faced claims that officers used “excessive force” against picketing miners, manipulated statements and gave false evidence in court.

But following a two-year analysis of thousands of pages of documents related to the case, the IPCC said it had decided not to launch an investigation.