Classified Battle of Orgreave files to be released by Home Office

Amber Rudd says her department is working to release the documents 'as quickly as possible'

Sunday 11 December 2016 15:09
Riot police look on at picketers and burning cars at the Orgreave coking works in Yorkshire in June, 1984
Riot police look on at picketers and burning cars at the Orgreave coking works in Yorkshire in June, 1984

Home Office files concerning events at the Battle of Orgreave are due to be released next year among a cache of records relating to the 1984 miners' strike.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the Home Affairs Select Committee the documents would be among 30 files planned for release to the National Archives.

The subject titles suggest at least one file relates to the clash between police and strikers that became one of the bloodiest events of the dispute.

A further three files are said to be under consideration for release by the Home Office.

Ms Rudd said in a letter to the committee: “We intend to transfer all 30 of the remaining Home Office files to the National Archives, and are working to complete this as quickly as possible. The files should be publicly available at the National Archives in the first half of 2017.”

The Home Secretary came under fire from campaigners when she announced in October that there would not be a parliamentary inquiry into the events.

Vera Baird, police and crime commissioner of Northumbria Police and a former Labour MP for Redcar, who acted for miners when she was a barrister, previously said she was “concerned” that the Home Office was still holding the files in light of Ms Rudd's decision.

The so-called Battle of Orgreave saw police deploy horseback charges and baton-wielding “snatch squads” as 6,000 officers from around the country attempted to prevent striking miners from blocking deliveries at a South Yorkshire coking plant.

Some 95 people were charged with riot and violent disorder, but cases collapsed and South Yorkshire Police were later required to pay compensation.

Yvette Cooper, chairwoman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: “The committee wants to establish what information on Orgreave the Government and police still have that has never been published. The Home Secretary's agreement to make public 30 further files on Orgreave is welcome.

“We are seeking further information and I have now written to a further 18 police forces involved in policing the incident to ask what related written information they hold which is not in the public domain. I have specifically asked the Metropolitan Police whether they hold the operational policing plan for Orgreave.”

Press Association

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