Campaigners unable to see Orgreave inquiry decision after rejecting IPCC ‘gagging orders’

Arthur Scargill, leader of the National Union of Miners, faces a line of policemen at the Battle of Orgreave, 1984
Arthur Scargill, leader of the National Union of Miners, faces a line of policemen at the Battle of Orgreave, 1984

Campaigners remain in the dark about a decision on a Battle of Orgreave inquiry after refusing to sign police watchdog ‘gagging orders’.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has made a decision on whether there will be an inquiry, but is yet to make the ruling public.

It has released details of the ruling to some interested parties on the condition of ‘strict confidentiality’.

But the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign group has refused to sign up to the conditions, saying they would be put in an ‘impossible position’ where members of the group who were told the result would not be able to discuss it with other campaigners.

A statement by the group said: “The IPCC report setting out its decision on whether there should be an investigation into the policing at Orgreave on June 18, 1984 was completed earlier this year.

“However the IPCC has decided that access to the report, and the documents providing the rationale for the decision, should be severely limited, and the people who read it bound by strict terms of confidentiality.

“Some interested parties, and an individual complainant, have read the decision and rationale documents and complied with the IPCC conditions.

“For the OTJC this would have meant that a small number of its members would have access to information but effectively they would have signed a ‘gagging order’ preventing them discussing it with other interested OTJC members and more widely.

“The OTJC has therefore decided not to comply with these onerous conditions.

“The OTJC strongly condemns this situation and reiterates its demand for a full transparent public inquiry into police actions at Orgreave in June 1984.

“In addition the IPCC decision means that not only OTJC members but the media and the wider public will be also kept in the dark.”

The IPCC made a decision about an investigation in January, but have been keeping the ruling secret for legal reasons.

It is believed a delay on the announcement is related to ensuring it does not prejudice the ongoing Hillsborough inquests, which also involve South Yorkshire Police.

The IPCC have said they will publish the decision as soon as possible.

Ninety-five 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 that evidence provided by police was unreliable.

South Yorkshire Police later paid £425,000 in compensation to 39 pickets.