The police watchdog is considering publishing a full, underacted report into what happened during the 1984 miners' strike in Orgreave in the wake of the outcome of the Hillsborough inquests. In 2015, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) published an edited – due to legal concerns – version of a review into South Yorkshire police conduct during the miner's strike, coinciding with the then ongoing two-year long inquest into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.
For decades, campaigners have fought for the government to hold a Hillsborough-style independent inquiry into the violent clashes between South Yorkshire Police officers and miners' during the Battle of Orgreave in June 1984. More than 70 officers and 50 strikers were injured during some of the biggest scenes of violence throughout the entire miners' strike. Officers were later accused of a series of misconduct allegations, including being told what to write in their witness reports and using excessive levels of violence against the striking miners.
A total of 95 miners were arrested following the clashes at Orgreave coking plant, but all the cases against them collapsed in court because of unreliable evidence provided by police. South Yorkshire Police voluntarily referred matters to the IPCC in 2012 but, in 2015, the watchdog announced it would not be investigating the force. The IPCC said the passage of time means that allegations of minor assault and misconduct could not be pursued.
A spokesperson for the IPCC said: "The IPCC is currently considering whether an unredacted version of the report into our review of Orgreave matters can now be published. The report published on our website in June 2015 was redacted as a result of legal issues, including some relating to the Hillsborough inquests. An unredacted version of our report was shared with the Coroner to the Hillsborough inquests prior to publication.
"The inquests have now concluded and we are now considering whether the legal issues that prompted the report being redacted still remain. One key consideration is that the IPCC and Operation Resolve are conducting criminal investigations into the events at Hillsborough and its aftermath. As a result, we must now carefully consider whether we can publish an unredacted version of the report at this stage without compromising the integrity of the ongoing criminal investigations."
Following the conclusion of the Hillsborough inquest, a jury ruled all 96 people who died at the stadium were unlawfully killed, mainly as a result of gross negligence by South Yorkshire Police officers. According to the Yorkshire Post, who have seen a redacted version of the Orgreave report, the same officers and solicitors linked to Hillsborough and the subsequent cover-up were involved in the aftermath of the Orgreave.
Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham, who played a key role in ensuring the accidental death verdicts at Hillsborough were quashed, is renewing calls for Theresa May to establish an independent inquiry into police handling of the 1984 miners' strike.
Burnham told the Yorkshire Post: "As I've always said, we won't have the truth about Hillsborough until we have the full truth about Orgreave. Finally, this report provides proof of what has long been suspected – that underhand tactics were used first against South Yorkshire miners before being deployed to much more deadly effect against Liverpool supporters.
"It is clear evidence of the rotten culture that has bedevilled this force for too long. Like the people of Liverpool, the mining communities of South Yorkshire now need to be told the truth about their police force and the policing of the miners' strike. On the back of these revelations, Theresa May must now order a disclosure process not just on Orgreave but on the policing of the miners' strike."