Calls For Publication Of Orgreave Report

4 May 2016, 16:13

The police watchdog is considering whether an unredacted version of a report into events at the Orgreave coking plant during the 1984 miners' strike can now be made public.

It comes as the new interim chief constable of South Yorkshire Police, Dave Jones, has said he will be engaging with the Hillsborough families and also those associated with the ongoing controversy over the policing of the Orgreave pickets during the bitter 1984 dispute.

Campaigners have fought for more than three decades to uncover the full story behind allegations of police mistreatment of striking miners in what became known as the Battle of Orgreave.

A spokeswoman for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said:
"The IPCC is currently considering whether an unredacted version of the report into our review of Orgreave matters can now be published.

"The report published on our website in June 2015 was redacted as a result of legal issues, including some relating to the Hillsborough inquests.

"An unredacted version of our report was shared with the Coroner to the Hillsborough inquests prior to publication. The inquests have now concluded and we are now considering whether the legal issues that prompted the report being redacted still remain.

"One key consideration is that the IPCC and Operation Resolve are conducting criminal investigations into the events at Hillsborough and its aftermath.

"As a result we must now carefully consider whether we can publish an unredacted version of the report at this stage without compromising the integrity of the ongoing criminal investigations.''

The bitter dispute at Orgreave resulted in dozens of injuries on both sides. But pickets complained of police brutality, and excessive force, with around 6,000 officers brought in for the strike.

South Yorkshire Police referred itself to the IPCC in 2012 over allegations officers colluded to write court statements.

The watchdog later said the passage of time prevented a formal investigation but said there was "support'' for the allegation that senior police exaggerated pickets' use of violence.

The Yorkshire Post said it has seen redacted sections of the report, which it said reveals that the same senior officers and solicitor were involved both in the aftermath of Orgreave and Hillsborough in 1989.

Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham said:
"As I've always said, we won't have the truth about Hillsborough until we have the full truth about Orgreave.

"Finally, this report provides proof of what has long been suspected - that underhand tactics were used first against South Yorkshire miners before being deployed to much more deadly effect against Liverpool supporters.

"It is clear evidence of the rotten culture that has bedevilled this force for too long. Like the people of Liverpool, the mining communities of South Yorkshire now need to be told the truth about their police force and the policing of the miners' strike.

"On the back of these revelations, Theresa May must now order a disclosure process not just on Orgreave but on the policing of the miners' strike.''

Operation Resolve, the continuing police inquiry into the events of the day of the Hillsborough disaster and its lead-up, and the probe by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into the aftermath of the disaster, are due to send their final case files to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) by the end of the year.

South Yorkshire Police were not available for comment.