Police watchdog’s admission over Orgreave probe

The police watchdog says it has still not made a decision on whether to launch a full investigation into the actions of South Yorkshire’s officers at the infamous 1984 ‘Battle of Orgreave’.

Miners Strike 1984 Orgreave Coking Plant Police with riot gear move pickets - 18 June 1984

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said this month that it had decided whether something similar to its probe into the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy should be carried out.

But a spokesman said yesterday that this was actually not the case and that the decision would not be made by the scoping team who have been looking through thousands of documents relating to clashes between South Yorkshire Police and striking miners.

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He said: “We are currently drafting the report about our scoping work and expect to finish this shortly. A formal decision on whether we are going to investigate or not cannot be taken until that report is complete.

“The decision isn’t for the scoping team to make. It is a decision for the Chair and Deputies of the IPCC to make. As such, the report is in draft form until the point in which a decision is made, it is then a final report.”

He added: “Unfortunately at this stage I cannot give any timescale on when this decision will be announced.”

South Yorkshire Police referred itself to the watchdog in November 2012 after a BBC documentary claimed officers may have colluded in writing court statements which saw 95 striking miners wrongly charged.

Since then officials have been going through thousands of documents to establish whether the case met the criteria for “exceptional circumstances” that would justify a full investigation into a historic matter.