Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Call for inquiry into policing at Orgreave

The Director of Public Prosecutions is being urged to hold an inquiry into the policing of the 1984 miners' strike.

A Commons Early Day motion has been signed by nine MPs in Parliament.

It follows a BBC Inside Out programme suggesting that South Yorkshire police officers were told what to write in their statements following clashes at Orgreave in 1984.

The force has already referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission over the programme's claims.

South Yorkshire Police said: "As Orgreave is now with the IPCC, it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this stage".

The motion is being led by a former president of the National Union of Mineworkers, Ian Laver. It states that the force's referral to the IPCC is "too little, too late".

The MPs are calling for a "full, comprehensive inquiry into the policing of the miners' strike throughout the UK to ensure the miners, their families and communities finally receive the justice they deserve".

The IPCC is considering whether to investigate. South Yorkshire Chief Constable David Crompton said it was right the issue was addressed.

On 18 June 1984, British Steel's coking plant at Orgreave was the scene for clashes between about 10,000 striking miners from pits across the county and 5,000 police officers.

According to a police report, 93 pickets were arrested, and 51 pickets and 72 police officers injured.

Vera Baird, Solicitor General during the last Labour government, said police officers were asked by the force's detectives to describe in their statements "scenes they'd simply never seen".

A barrister at the time, Ms Baird first heard the claims during a trial at Sheffield Crown Court in 1985 while she was defending 15 pickets arrested at Orgreave.

The trial collapsed after 16 weeks after it became clear that police evidence was unreliable. One officer admitted much of his statement had been narrated to him.

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