22 Oct 2012

Call for inquiry into miners’ strike ‘Battle of Orgreave’

The police complaints watchdog is under pressure to look into claims South Yorkshire police fabricated evidence and tried to “frame” miners following clashes at the Orgreave coking plant in 1984.

Police on horseback line up outside the Orgreave coking plant in South Yorkshire during the miners strike (Getty)

Labour MP for Bassetlaw John Mann has said that claims made in a BBC Inside Out programme must be investigated. The programme contains allegations that junior South Yorkshire police officers were told what to write in statements they made during the 1984 miners’ strike.

They involve claims about one of the most violent clashes between the police and striking miners, which became known as the Battle of Orgreave.

The General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, Chris Kitchen, told the Guardian that the IPCC and Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer should also look at allegations SYP officers “framed” striking miners in their investigation into South Yorkshire police’s alleged cover-up following the Hillsborough disaster.

The Hillsborough report found that 164 statements made by South Yorkshire police officers after the tragedy had been altered.

41 police officers as well as 28 striking miners were injured and 81 people were arrested during fierce battles at the Orgreave works as miners tried to stop convoys of coke reaching the plant.

93 miners were put on trial following the clashes, with police and miners bitterly pointing fingers at each other over how the trouble started. There have long been claims that police actions on the day were excessive.

The trial collapsed after four months due to the unreliability of police evidence.

South Yorkshire police told the BBC it was “not aware of any adverse comments about statements made during the trial.

“If concerns existed then normal practice would have been for the judge to raise them at the time.”