Watchdog “moving at snail’s pace” over Orgreave

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Campaigners calling for an investigation into the actions of police at a mass picket during the 1984-5 miners’ strike have protested outside the Yorkshire base of an independent watchdog.

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OJTC) staged a demonstration at the Wakefield headquarters of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which they claim is “moving at a snail’s pace”.

Campaigners are frustrated at the length of time the IPCC is taking to decide if it can launch a full investigation into the actions of South Yorkshire Police at the Orgreave coking plant near Rotherham in June 1984.

Police arrested 95 people at Orgreave, but subsequent court cases against them collapsed. South Yorkshire Police referred themselves to the IPCC in 2012. No decision has yet been made about whether the case meets the criteria for “exceptional circumstances” that would justify a full investigation into a historic matter.

OTJC chair Joe Rollin said: “Sadly, the IPCC appears to have undertaken a very limited amount of work in collecting and collating information on what happened at Orgreave. It is moving at a snail’s pace. The OTJC, therefore, remains concerned that no officers will face charges of assault, perjury, perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public office.”

Last summer, IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts said she had “picked up loud and clear just how much Orgreave is still in people’s minds” since she started the job. She said: “To be honest I couldn’t say when (a decision will be made), what I do know is that I would like us to hurry up and make that decision.”

The IPCC said yesterday: “Our scoping work remains ongoing. This is a very complex process, but we do appreciate the frustration and concerns about the time this is taking. We are assessing documentation from a range of different sources, including South Yorkshire Police and the National Archive, and continue to liaise with the National Union of Mineworkers and the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign.

“We remain committed to reaching a decision as soon as we can but want to ensure we have had the opportunity to analyse all relevant documentation.”