Home office rejects offer for Battle of Orgreave enquiry

7 March 2019

An offer by the Bishop of Sheffield to set up an independent panel to scrutinise police action during the Battle of Orgreave, has been rejected by the home secretary Sajid Javid.

The Right Rev Dr Peter Wilcox said he had large amounts of public support from campaigners, who have long been working towards a public enquiry into what happened at Orgreave.

The Home Office said: “The government’s decision not to accept an offer to set up a panel into Orgreave was made after careful consideration and took into account how the policing landscape has changed since the events three decades ago.”

On 19 June 1984, hostilities rose between striking miners at a picket line in Orgreave and South Yorkshire police.

A total of 95 arrests were made, but later trials collapsed on account of allegations that officers had fabricated events. The officers, many in riot gear, are also alleged to have used excessive force.

Revelations in recent years of corruption within South Yorkshire Police at the time of the Hillsborough Disaster, just five years after Orgreave, have further spurred calls for an enquiry.

Craig Mansell, one of the miners arrested at Orgreave, said: “35 years ago today I went on strike to fight for my job I was promised would last me until retirement I was only 18 at the time.”

“I am now 53 and now fighting for truth and justice after being falsely arrested by Thatcher’s thugs at Orgreave.”

Chris Hockney, chair of the Orgreave Truth and Justice campaign expressed his disappointment in the decision, saying: “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.

Labour Councillor Moya O’Rourke, also supported an independent review of the arrests, saying: “It’s disgraceful that this Tory Government continues to prolong the suffering of those who wait for the truth and justice.”

Written by Luke Baldwin

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