Orgreave campaigners to apply to Government for ‘Hillsborough-style’ hearing

The Battle of Orgreave saw clashes between police and miners
The Battle of Orgreave saw clashes between police and miners

Campaigners are to apply to the Government for a ‘Hillsborough-style’ independent panel hearing into the infamous Battle of Orgreave.

Members of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign met Home Secretary Theresa May this week after the Independent Police Complaints Commission saying it could not investigate claims of police misconduct relating to the events of 31 years ago.

Ms May has agreed the campaigners can submit an application to establish the panel for the Government’s consideration in September.

The Hillsborough independent panel hearing published its findings in 2012.

It resulted in new inquests being ordered into the deaths of 96 Liverpool supporters at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989 at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium – with a parallel investigation launched to establish whether those who died were unlawfully killed.

Barbara Jackson, OTJC secretary, said work will now start on putting together the application, with the group likely to approach Hillsborough campaigners for advice as part of the process.

She said: “We have agreed we will get our legal people to do a legal submission asking for a Hillsborough-style independent panel hearing which we view as a stepping stone to a full inquiry.

“Ms May has agreed we can submit that in early September. I can’t say it is going to be a success, but it is an interesting opening she has offered us.

“The IPCC decision report contained a lot of interesting nuggets and information that is the foundation of our case for an independent panel.

“The IPCC said it was beyond their remit and they didn’t have the resources to investigate. We believe the issues could be best dealt with by a full public inquiry.”

The new move by the campaigners follows the IPCC announcing in June it will not be investigating the allegations of misconduct against South Yorkshire Police, suggesting doing so would require a Hillsborough-style public inquiry.

The IPCC said, because of the passage of time, allegations of assault and misconduct by police officers ‘could not be pursued’, but added it could review the decision if fresh evidence is produced.

In the Battle of Orgreave 95 miners were arrested at Orgreave coking plant on June 18, 1984, after clashes with police during the national Miners’ Strike.

When the cases came to court, all were abandoned when it became clear evidence provided by police was unreliable.