Sheffield & South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire Police chief 'would welcome Orgreave review'

Policemen wrestling a striking miner to the ground
Image caption Thousands of miners and police clashed at the Orgreave coking site near Rotherham in South Yorkshire

An independent review into the so-called Battle of Orgreave would be welcomed, South Yorkshire Police has said.

About 10,000 strikers and 5,000 police officers clashed at the coking plant near Rotherham in June 1984.

Former miners' leader Arthur Scargill called for an inquiry on Wednesday.

Interim Chief Constable Dave Jones said the Hillsborough inquests highlighted the need to "explore the circumstances of such significant events".

He added it "brought into sharp focus" the importance of understanding and confronting the past.

What was the 'Battle of Orgreave'?

A redacted version of a report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into police conduct at Orgreave was published last year.

On Wednesday The Yorkshire Post reported the redacted sections proved the same senior officers were involved in both the aftermath of Orgreave and Hillsborough.

Image caption The so-called Battle of Orgreave in June 1984 was one of the flashpoints during a bitter industrial dispute

The IPCC previously said it was considering whether there were any remaining legal issues preventing full publication of its report.

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) group has called on Mr Jones to open up the force's archives on the clashes.

Secretary Barbara Jackson said it welcomed the "growing recognition of the need to resolve and investigate this piece of unfinished business and a running sore in former mining communities and beyond".

A Home Office spokesperson said: "The Home Secretary is considering a submission from OTJC on the need for an inquiry relating to events at Orgreave.

"She will set out the government's position in due course."

'Root and branch'

Thousands of picketers confronted huge lines of police outside the coke works at Orgreave.

Miners wanted to stop lorry loads of coke leaving for the steel works, as police attempted to hold them back.

In 2015, the police watchdog said the passage of time meant allegations of assault and misconduct at Orgreave "could not be pursued".

Image caption When appointed, interim Chief Constable Dave Jones said he would be seeking support for a full review of South Yorkshire Police

Mr Jones took temporary charge of the South Yorkshire force after David Crompton was suspended in the wake of the conclusion to the Hillsborough inquests.

Mr Crompton's initial replacement, deputy Dawn Copley, stood down after her appointment was criticised due to a misconduct investigation.

Mr Jones said: "The Hillsborough inquests have brought into sharp focus the need to understand and confront the past and give people the opportunity to explore the circumstances of such significant events.

"I would therefore welcome an appropriate independent assessment of Orgreave, accepting that the way in which this is delivered is a matter for the Home Secretary."

Lawyers for 22 families of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster said they would be asking Mr Jones whether he has invited an external team to carry out a "root and branch" investigation into the values of South Yorkshire Police, "including its conduct at Orgreave".

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