Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Orgreave campaigners angry over 'snail's pace' inquiry

protest Image copyright Unite
Image caption About 100 campaigners gathered outside the IPCC's Wakefield office

Campaigners have accused the police watchdog of "moving at snail's pace" over claims of improper police conduct at Orgreave coking plant during the miners' strike.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is considering whether to investigate claims officers colluded in writing witness statements.

About 100 campaigners held a protest at the IPCC's headquarters in Wakefield.

IPCC commissioner Cindy Butts said she "refuted absolutely" the criticism.

On 18 June 1984, the British Steel plant near Rotherham was the scene of a confrontation between about 10,000 striking miners from pits across the country and some 5,000 police officers.

According to a police report, 93 pickets were arrested, with a further 51 injured along with 72 police officers.

Image caption The confrontation between striking miners and police officers became known as the Battle of Orgreave

The watchdog has been carrying out a "scoping exercise" since South Yorkshire Police referred itself in November 2012.

The referral followed a BBC documentary which claimed officers from forces across England and Wales used identical phrases to describe what they saw at what became known as the Battle of Orgreave.

Joe Rollin, chair of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC), said: "Sadly, the IPCC appears to have undertaken a very limited amount of work in collecting and collating information on what happened at Orgreave.

"It is moving at a snail's pace.

"The OTJC, therefore, remains concerned that no officers will face charges of assault, perjury, perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public office."

Ms Butts said: "This is a very complex process, but we do appreciate the frustration and concerns about the time this is taking.

"We are assessing documentation from a range of different sources. In November we asked all police forces to search their archives.

"We are continuing to review the responses we received and also checking that where documents have been identified they have been supplied. Any items which are outstanding are being chased up."

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