What was the Battle of Orgreave?

An unprecedented number of police was drafted from 10 counties for the strike Credit: ITV

The Home Secretary has announced the Government will not sanction an inquiry into the notorious "Battle of Orgreave" clash between police and miners.

Campaigners had called for a re-examination of police action on the most violent day of the 1984-85 miners' strike.

Here is a closer look at how the events at the South Yorkshire colliery turned so violent and why Hillsborough families joined the campaign for an inquiry:

  • What was the Battle of Orgreave?

The National Union of Mineworkers organised a mass picket at Orgreave on 18 June 1984 to prevent deliveries of coal arriving at the coking plant.

However, it soon turned in to the most violent day of the UK miners' strike.

Thousands of striking UK miners were confronted by an unprecedented number of police - who were assembled from 10 counties - outside the plant in Orgreave, South Yorkshire.

Almost 5,000 officers in riot gear formed a solid barrier against the miners, who had gathered at the works near Rotherham to stop coke deliveries leaving for steelworks in Scunthorpe.

  • What happened?

Mounted police appeared to charge towards the striking miners. Credit: ITV

Opinion is divided on who acted first, but violence erupted on both sides.

Mounted police forced the miners up a field as stones and missiles were thrown before officers made dozens of arrests.

The battle appeared to mark a shift in police strategy, whereby instead of protecting miners and collieries, a more offensive stance was taken to break up the crowds and make large-scale arrests.

  • What was the aftermath?

The number of police involved and the tactics used during the clash were unprecedented. Credit: ITV

Police were heavily criticised and accused of mistreating strikers. A number of officers were put on trial in 1987.

In court, many statements by police officers appeared identical, with one having a forged signature.

The case was thrown out and the miners were cleared.

South Yorkshire police agreed to pay £425,000 costs in an out-of-court settlement, but the police action on the day left a lasting legacy of distrust in the mining communities.

  • Why have Hillsborough families joined the call for an inquiry?

The lengthy fight for justice after the Hillsborough disaster finally exposed the conduct of South Yorkshire Police. Credit: PA

Campaigners want an independent investigation into the conduct of South Yorkshire Police during the violent encounter.

They have called for an open, panel-style hearing - similar to that carried out on the Hillsborough disaster that exposed South Yorkshire Police.

Momentum for an Orgreave inquiry escalated when the two-year inquests into the 1989 football tragedy delivered a scathing assessment of the police action.

  • Why is the nature of the inquiry a point of contention?

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign has gained MP support. Credit: PA

The relatives of those who died at Hillsborough said electing a single judge to review the Orgreave case behind closed doors would be inadequate.

A review in 1998 into the Hillsborough disaster carried out by Lord Justice Stuart-Smith was said to have stalled the families' pursuit of the truth after he concluded new inquests were not warranted.