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THE government faced fresh demands today for an independent review of unreleased police files related to the attack on striking miners at Orgreave in 1984.
The Commons home affairs select committee has discovered that South Yorkshire Police have identified almost 800 files related to the so-called Battle of Orgreave, committee chair Yvette Cooper told Home Secretary Amber Rudd in a letter.
Campaigners welcomed the committee’s hard work, but called for the release of all files relating to Orgreave, whether held by South Yorkshire or other forces.
On June 18 1984 thousands of striking miners were herded by officers into a field, then viciously attacked by mounted and armoured police. The strikers had been trying to picket a coke works at Orgreave, near Rotherham in South Yorkshire.
In her letter, Ms Cooper said that South Yorkshire Police held a “far greater amount of material” than has been identified as held by any other public body and that its scale “clearly merits urgent attention.”
She noted that the files had not been reviewed by the Home Office when it last considered the matter in January 2017, nor by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) when it reviewed whether to investigate the police riot.
The IPCC decided against a investigation in 2015 and, a year later, the Home Secretary rejected calls for a statutory inquiry or independent review.
Ms Cooper said it would not be “appropriate” for the South Yorkshire force to be the “arbiter” of what material was released into the public domain, calling for an independent review of the files to ensure the “credibility” of any future publication.
Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) secretary Barbara Jackson said: “We are pleased that more files are coming to light and more are being released, but we need all files about Orgreave to be released.
“We want to know if these recent files were ever seen by the IPCC when they did their two-year ‘scoping exercise’ about Orgreave and decided not to investigation police actions at Orgreave during the miners’ strike.”
Former miner Kevin Horne, who was arrested at Orgreave, called for an independent review of all the relevant files, saying: “Without this, how can we move on and have any trust in the government and the police?”
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