Police face new Orgreave probe

MINERS STRIKE June 6th 1984 Pickets and police at Orgreave
MINERS STRIKE June 6th 1984 Pickets and police at Orgreave

FORMER miners have welcomed news that police in South Yorkshire could face fresh questions over the manipulation of statements following a television documentary about the 1980s ‘Battle of Orgreave’, which was shown this week.

The force is already under scrutiny after an inquiry found evidence of a cover-up relating to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which senior officers attempted to pin blame on Liverpool supporters.

Now senior barristers have spoken out about the arrest of more than 90 miners at Orgeave, near Sheffield, five years before the stadium tragedy in June 1984. All of the miners prosecuted over riot offences were later acquitted when doubts were raised about police evidence.

Former miner Bob Taylor worked at Cortonwood Colliery which was at the epicentre of the strike. He went to the Orgreave picket every day and was present at the infamous ‘battle’,

He said: “ The police made things up at the time and afterwards people believed them - they just saw what they want to see on the telly. Some of the police who turned up in court were different to the ones who arrested the pickets. It was just a farce . They were out for blood that day. They turned it all around to make it look like we started it but it was them who charged us first”.

David Douglass, a picket co-ordinator at the time of Orgreave said police officers “reinvented history to meet their operational needs”. A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “South Yorkshire Police notes the issues raised in the programme and will consider whether any review is necessary.

The Force is not aware of any adverse comment about the statements from the trial judge in the case. If concerns existed then normal practice would have been for the judge to raise them at the time”.