TV report raises police concerns

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POLICE in South Yorkshire could face fresh questions over the manipulation of statements following a television documentary about the 1980s ‘Battle of Orgreave’, set to be shown tonight.

The force is already under scrutiny after an inquiry found evidence of a cover-up relating to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which senior officers attempted to pin the blame on Liverpool supporters.

Now senior barristers have spoken out about the arrest of more than 90 miners at Orgreave, near Sheffield, five years before the stadium tragedy in June 1984.

The Inside Out documentary is being screened on BBC One tonight at 7.30pm.

All of the miners prosecuted over riot offences were later acquitted when doubts were raised about police evidence.

Michael Mansfield QC, who represented miners at the first trial to come to court in 1985, said the police account of what happened at Orgreave was a ‘contrivance’.

The documentary team has obtained copies of around 100 police witness statements following Orgreave.

They claim officers used identical phrases to describe what they saw during the clashes with miners.

Another barrister, Mark George QC, said: “It’s very obvious in the Orgreave case that there was widespread collusion.”

A police spokesperson said: “South Yorkshire Police notes the issues raised in the programme and will consider whether any review is necessary.

“The force is not aware of any adverse comment about the statements from the trial judge in the case.”