Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Battle of Orgreave: Home Office rejects panel review offer

Orgreave Image copyright PA
Image caption A total of 95 mineworkers were arrested, but never convicted, after clashes with the police

An offer to set up an independent panel to review documents relating to the so-called Battle of Orgreave has been rejected by the government.

The Bishop of Sheffield said there would be a "real public benefit" in reviewing the 1984 miners' strike in Orgreave, South Yorkshire.

Thousands of pickets and police officers clashed at the coking plant.

The Home Office said its decision was made in light of changes to policing over the last 30 years.

In 2016, former Home Secretary Amber Rudd ruled against an inquiry into the events during the miners' strike.

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) described the latest setback as a "real kick in the teeth", with campaigners vowing to continue to push for an inquiry.

Image caption Police held back striking miners who were attempting to stop lorries of coke leaving Orgreave

Huge lines of police clashed with striking miners as they tried to stop lorries carrying coke to fuel the Scunthorpe steel furnaces.

A total of 95 mineworkers were arrested, although all charges were dropped, and a number were injured.

Campaigners have been calling for an inquiry into the police tactics on that day, claiming that striking miners were assaulted and falsely arrested.

The Rt Rev Pete Wilcox said he was convinced that an independent panel would have "considerable support" and help those involved to move on.

He said: "I remain hopeful that progress can yet be made and I remain ready to assist in whatever way I can, whenever the time is right."

OTJC chair Chris Hockney said: "It's a real kick in the teeth, not just for us but for all the people and institutions who Bishop Pete has approached and who, like us, believe there's a real need to address this part of history so mining communities can get truth and justice."

A Home Office spokesman said the government's decision "was made after careful consideration and took into account how the policing landscape has changed since the events three decades ago".

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