Miners' Strike Miscarriages?
With cabinet papers relating to the 1984 miners' strike due to be published tomorrow, Jenny Chryss examines growing calls for a public inquiry into allegations of widespread falsification of evidence by the police against some of the miners who ended up facing charges.
On June 18 1984, scores of pickets and police officers were injured during one of the bloodiest events of the year long strike. Protesters at Orgreave were trying to stop coke from the plant being transported to the British Steel mill at Scunthorpe. Ninety three people were arrested that day with some charged with riot, which carries a potential life sentence. However, nearly four months into the trial of fifteen of the accused pickets the case against them collapsed.
Thirty years on, it's alleged that some police officers manipulated the evidence given in court and colluded over their statement writing or were told what to write. But no officer has ever been charged.
And allegations about police malpractice spread beyond Orgreave. The programme hears from one former miner who says he was beaten almost unconscious during a picket at Frickley Colliery in West Yorkshire and then charged with a public order offence on the basis of falsified evidence. The case against him was later dropped.
Campaigners and some MPs are now calling for a public inquiry and are drawing parallels between these allegations and similar revelations about the manipulation of evidence after the Hillsborough football disaster five years later. The Hillsborough Independent Panel revealed that more than a hundred and sixty South Yorkshire police statements had been altered after the disaster in which ninety six Liverpool fans died in April 1989.
Producer: Sally Chesworth.