Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Arthur Scargill calls for 1984 Orgreave arrest probe

Arthur Scargill arrested at Orgreave
Image caption Arthur Scargill was one of 93 arrested during a confrontation at Orgreave in 1984

Former miners' union leader Arthur Scargill has written to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to request an investigation into his arrest at Orgreave coke works in 1984.

Mr Scargill's letter alleges his arrest was planned by senior South Yorkshire Police officers and claims the force kept a "conspiracy file" on him.

The IPCC said it would consider the content of Mr Scargill's letter.

South Yorkshire Police said it would assist the watchdog "in any way".

Mr Scargill was arrested on 30 May 1984 at the coking plant in Rotherham. He was later found guilty of two charges of obstruction and fined £250.

On 18 June, 93 people were arrested after a confrontation between about 10,000 striking miners and some 5,000 police officers.

The clash, which became known as the Battle of Orgreave, saw 51 miners and 72 police officers injured.

'Obvious then and now'

In the letter to the IPCC, Mr Scargill said his lawyer had "accidentally seen a file marked Scargill Conspiracy File" during a visit to South Yorkshire Police headquarters following the arrest at Orgreave.

He said that, as a result, his lawyer had advised him to "adopt a course of action to protect me physically and against any attempt at a 'stitch-up' by undercover officers".

Mr Scargill also claimed his lawyer was approached by a police officer at Rotherham County Court and told of a plot to arrest the union leader as soon as he arrived at Orgreave.

He said "it was obvious then and it is obvious now that decisions were taken at the very highest level to arrest me, apparently on any charge, [when] I arrived at Orgreave".

Calling on the IPCC to investigate the claims, he said he was prepared to attend an interview.

Mr Scargill was not available for interview in relation to the letter.

A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said: "We are aware that Mr Scargill made a complaint to the force during the period of the Orgreave dispute.

"There are additional elements within his letter that, to the best of our knowledge, have not been raised as a complaint with the force previously.

"The force will assist the IPCC in any way following their consideration of the content."

South Yorkshire Police has referred itself to the IPCC over the conduct of the force around the Orgreave confrontation after a BBC documentary claimed officers may have colluded in writing court statements.

Last week, the police watchdog apologised for the lack of progress in the Orgreave investigation after a protest outside its Wakefield office by the campaigners from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign.

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