Orgreave link to ‘89 disaster?

editorial image
0
Have your say

Calls are growing for a new inquiry into the 1984 Battle of Orgreave after links emerged between an alleged cover-up at the time and South Yorkshire Police actions five years later at the Hillsborough disaster.

Redacted sections of a watchdog’s report into clashes between police and striking miners reveal that the same senior officers and solicitor were involved both in the aftermath of Orgreave and of Britain’s worst sporting disaster in 1989.

Another officer interviewed about the alleged Hillsborough cover-up claimed that some of his colleagues were told by unspecified officers not to write anything in their notebooks at the time of Orgreave and then instructed to do the same in the aftermath of the 1989 disaster.

The disclosures, made after a jury returned its verdicts on the unlawful killing of 96 Liverpool football fans, will strengthen claims that the same police tactics used to blame fans after Britain’s worst sporting disaster were first used after Orgreave.

It is alleged that the force was able to repeat the same tactics to deflect attention from themselves in the aftermath of Hillsborough.

Home Secretary Theresa May is facing calls for a new inquiry into Orgreave, where 95 miners were arrested at the coking plant, near Rotherham, after clashes with police which left 50 people injured.

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

Last summer, the IPCC said it was not in the public interest to launch a full investigation into claims police used excessive force against miners, had their statements manipulated and gave false evidence in court to justify spurious criminal charges. There was evidence that senior officers became aware of perjury by their colleagues but did not want it to be revealed, something it said raised “doubts about the ethical standards of officers in the highest ranks at South Yorkshire Police at that time”.