Hillsborough campaigners join plea for inquiry over Orgreave

Orgreave on May 31, 1984

Orgreave on May 31, 1984

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HILLSBOROUGH campaigners have added their voice to calls for a public inquiry into allegations surrounding the actions of police at the Orgreave during the 1984 miners’ strike.

The Government has also come under renewed pressure over the issue in the Commons, where a former Labour shadow minister called for Home Secretary Theresa May to make a statement and questioned whether the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) was fit for purpose after it decided not to launch an investigation into the conduct of South Yorkshire Police.

The force - which is already under intense scrutiny over its role in the Hillsborough disaster – has faced claims officers used excessive force against picketing miners, manipulated statements and gave false evidence in court.

There have been calls for a Hillsborough-style inquiry in the aftermath of the IPCC’s decision, announced last week, which came more than two years after South Yorkshire Police referred itself to the body.

The IPCC said it would not be investigating allegations of serious misconduct, suggesting that doing so would require an inquiry similar in scale to that which reconsidered what happened at Hillsborough, when 96 football fans died following a fatal crush in 1989.

In a statement, the Hillsborough Justice Campaign (HJC) said it wished “to add its support to calls for a public inquiry into the events at the Orgreave coking plant in the summer of 1984 that culminated in 95 arrests on 18th June that year. All those arrested and charged were subsequently acquitted.

“The IPCC has recently reviewed allegations of perverting the course of justice, perjury, assault and misconduct in public office, by senior police officers relating to those cases. Despite the existence of material indicating those offences may have been committed the IPCC have, nevertheless decided that it is not in the public interest to investigate further.

“The HJC shares the disappointment of the Orgreave Campaign with this decision of the IPCC.

“The HJC would urge Orgreave people to maintain their campaign in the face of this recent set back. Hillsborough families and survivors suffered numerous setbacks over many years before their struggle for truth and justice was formally acknowledged.”

Meanwhile in the Commons, former Labour shadow justice and home office minister, Helen Jones, said there was “deep concern” the IPCC had recommended no further action.

The Warrington North MP said: “There is deep concern the recent IPCC report into events at Orgreave recommended no further action despite finding evidence of serious criminality during and after those demonstrations.

“Can you ensure the home secretary comes to the House to make a statement because these events have ensured a denial of justice to those people involved at Orgreave. They also call into question whether the IPCC is fit for purpose.”

But Leader of the Commons Chris Grayling joked it had been the week the Labour party of the 1980s “came back to life”.

The senior Tory added: “The IPCC has looked at these issues, it has reached its conclusions and there I’m afraid I believe the matter should rest.”

Last night, the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign held a rally on the 31st anniversary of the so-called Battle of Orgreave.

A spokesman said: “OTJC was not surprised at the IPCC’s decision and is buoyed by the news that the Home Secretary Theresa May has subsequently stated she would consider any request to set up a public inquiry into Orgreave. OTJC is currently taking some legal advice about how best to proceed and meanwhile there are plans for a Parliamentary meeting with MPs.”

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