South Yorkshire Police ‘welcome’ plan for Orgreave inquiry

MINERS STRIKE June 18th 1984
Pickets are moved on by police at Orgreave and usher them towards Catcliffe.
MINERS STRIKE June 18th 1984 Pickets are moved on by police at Orgreave and usher them towards Catcliffe.
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The new man in charge of South Yorkshire Police has said he would ‘welcome’ an independent inquiry into the events of the Battle of Orgreave.

Interim chief constable Dave Jones said an investigation into the police action at the Orgreave plant during the 1984 miners’ strike should take place - in a format decided by Home Secretary Theresa May.

His comments follow allegations of direct links between the events at Orgreave and the Hillsborough disaster five years later.

Mr Jones said: “The Hillsborough inquests have brought into sharp focus the need to understand and confront the past and give people the opportunity to explore the circumstances of such significant events.

“I would therefore welcome an appropriate independent assessment of Orgreave accepting that the way in which this is delivered is a matter for the Home Secretary.”

A redacted section of an Independent Police Complaints Commission report is said to reveal that the same senior officers and solicitor were involved both in the aftermath of Orgreave and Hillsborough in 1989.

Ninety-five miners were arrested at the Orgreave coking plant, near Rotherham, after clashes with police which left 50 people injured.

When cases against the miners came to court, all were abandoned after it became clear that evidence provided by police was unreliable. South Yorkshire Police later paid £425,000 in compensation to 39 pickets in out-of-court settlements.

Barbara Jackson, from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, said she was now ‘very hopeful’ an independent inquiry will be ordered by the Home Secretary in the light of the Hillsborough unlawful killings verdict.

“The links are so glaringly obvious - the same police force, the same chief constable, the same senior officers and the same issue of alleged tampering with statements,” she said.

“We are feeling very, very hopeful about an inquiry.”