Socialist Worker

South Yorkshire police accused of framing miners at Orgreave

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2326

A miner injured at the Battle of Orgreave  (Pic: John Sturrock)

A miner injured at the Battle of Orgreave (Pic: John Sturrock)

South Yorkshire police officers could be investigated over claims they tried to frame striking miners in the 1980s.

Police attacked a mass picket by miners who were trying to shut the Orgreave coking plant near Sheffield.

They claimed miners had attacked them first—and prosecuted 95 of them for riot and unlawful assembly. The charges carried potential life sentences.

The case collapsed in 1987 after it was revealed in court that officers’ statements had been dictated to them and one officer’s signature had been forged. No officer has been disciplined for any misconduct.

Police claimed that it was only background information that was copied, but a new investigation disputes this. Mark George QC analysed 40 officers’ statements.

He found that in descriptions of alleged attacks by miners, 34 used an identical phrase and 22 had an identical four sentence paragraph.

This follows the revelations last month that South Yorkshire officers’ statements were altered to cover up their role in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster and blame fans.

Peter Wright, chief constable of South Yorkshire Police at the time, backed the prosecutions of the miners. Wright was also part of an operation to cover up the role of the police in the disaster.

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Tue 23 Oct 2012, 17:13 BST
Issue No. 2326
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