ORGREAVE: South Yorkshire Crime Commissioner 'shocked and dismayed' at Government decision

South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner has said he is 'deeply disappointed' at the Government's decision not to hold an inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave.

Monday, 31st October 2016, 2:11 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:02 pm
Police and miners clash at the Battle of Orgreave in 1984

Commissioner Dr Alan Billings has spoken of his dismay after Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced there would be no inquiry today.

During the Miners’ Strike in 1984, police and miners clashed at the Orgreave Coking plant in Rotherham. Many miners were arrested, but were later cleared in court.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Comissioner

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The police handling of the event has long been in question and the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign have lobbied the Government to investigate over many years.

Dr Billings said: “I said when I was elected I fully supported the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign in their fight for a proper enquiry into the events of Orgreave.

"The former miners and their families deserved to know the truth about what happened that day.

“I am therefore shocked and dismayed by this decision. The government have marched the Campaign for Truth and Justice to the top of the hill only to march them down again.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Comissioner

“I am not convinced by the reasons given for refusing an investigation. No one has ever suggested that the events of Orgreave were comparable in every respect to the disaster at Hillsborough. But the former miners and the former mining communities in South Yorkshire deserve an explanation as to what happened on that day and where Orgreave fits in the wider story of the miners’ strike."

Dr Billings added that South Yorkshire Police were 'ready to co-operate in any enquiry'

He said: “This was a critical moment for the police service in South Yorkshire. It could have shown that it had really learned lessons of past mistakes and was ready to co-operate fully with any enquiry. We wanted to see a new era of openness with no attempt to be self-justifying or defensive.

“I have offered to meet with the Policing and Fire Service Minister to discuss how the force can move forward under new leadership and having learned the lessons of the past.

“But I am deeply disappointed and dismayed by today’s decision.”