ST HELENS Council has called on the government to order a full inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave.

June marked the 35th anniversary of South Yorkshire Police’s operation against striking miners at the Orgreave coking plant near Rotherham.

Ninety-five miners were arrested during the incident, with the police prosecuting 55 for the offence of riot, although all were later acquitted.

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The police withdrew the prosecution 48 days into the trial, after a succession of police officers were accused of lying and presenting false evidence.

A public inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave has never taken place, despite increasing pressure in recent years.

A report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission published in June 2015 said there was evidence of “excessive violence” by police officers, and a “false narrative” from police, exaggerating violence by miners, perjury by officers giving evidence to prosecute the arrested men, and an apparent cover-up of that perjury by senior officers.

Speaking at full council on Wednesday, Cllr Martin Bond, cabinet member for finance, said a full investigation was “long overdue”.

Cllr Bond said: “Miners and their families were adversely affected by the events of that day in terms of wrongful arrest, false imprisonment, ill-health, family breakdown and termination of employment, as a direct result of policing tactics at Orgreave.

“A full investigation into the policing on that day is long overdue and only a full public inquiry can fully investigate this.”

St Helens Star:

Cllr Martin Bond, cabinet member for finance

Former Home Secretary Amber Rudd rejected calls for a public inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave in 2016.

In June 2018 the Scottish Parliament ordered an independent review to investigate and subsequently report on the impact of policing on affected communities in Scotland during the period of the miners’ strike between March 1984 and March 1985.

This was followed by a decision of the Welsh Assembly in June 2018 to write to the Home Secretary to ask for an independent review into policing in England and Wales during the miners’ strike.

The Welsh Assembly followed this up with another letter requesting the Home Secretary orders an inquiry specifically into the policing at Orgreave.

Cllr Bond said what happened during the miners’ strike was an “attack on a way of living”.

Labour’s Richard McCauley said he had first-hand experience of the “tactics” of the police during the miners’ strikes, adding that it was “nothing like” what was reported in the media at the time.

Cllr McCauley, cabinet member for economic regeneration and housing, said mining communities such as St Helens “deserve justice” for what happened at Orgreave

St Helens Star:

Cllr Richard McCauley, cabinet member for economic regeneration and housing

Fighting back tears, he said: “We had a motion at this council last year about Hillsborough and justice for the 96, and the tactics that went on there by South Yorkshire Police.

“Very similar tactics were deployed, very similar. A lot of the officers there were involved at Orgreave as well.

“The mining communities deserve justice for what happened at Orgreave and a specific inquiry is needed. I implore members to support this.

“There’s a lot of people in this town that resonate with what happened there and they know what I was told and keep on being told.

“And when you tell a lie so many times it becomes the truth, but the truth needs outing really on this.

“So, justice for the Orgreaves.”

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The motion was passed following a vote, with all three Conservatives councillors abstaining.

St Helens Council will now write to the Home Secretary and ask they acknowledge the response of the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments and explain what action has been taken in response.

The council will also ask the Home Secretary to consider the council’s opinion, accept there is widespread public concern about events at Orgreave and call for them to order a full public enquiry into the Battle of Orgreave.