1. ITV Report

Calls for Orgreave inquiry after claims over police links with Hillsborough

96 people were killed in the Hillsborough Disaster in 1989. Credit: PA

Links between individuals involved in South Yorkshire Police's (SYP) investigations into the Battle of Orgreave and the Hillsborough disaster strengthen the case for a public inquiry into the infamous confrontation of the 1984 miners' strike, campaigners have said.

The Hillsborough Inquests outlined how a solicitor, Peter Metcalf, was involved in both investigations, in addition to two senior officers - Deputy Chief Constable Peter Hayes and Assistant Chief Constable Walter Jackson.

The 'Battle of Orgeave' in 1984. Credit: PA

Campaigners say SYP created a story favourable to itself at Orgreave, as it did in the aftermath of the FA Cup semi final disaster in 1989.

The disturbances at the Rotherham coking plant in June 1984 led to 95 miners being charged, but the cases collapsed after the validity of the police accounts was questioned.

  • Why weren't the links discussed at the Hillsborough Inquests?

During the inquests, coroner Sir John Goldring decided not to allow questioning about what happened at Orgreave for fear that it would divert attention away from what happened at Hillsborough, arguing that it would open a "Pandora's box".

But Sir John also said:

There were, on the face of it, substantial differences between events at Orgreave and those at Hillsborough. The officers were different.

Any problems regarding the gathering of evidence were different. The way the evidence was gathered was different.

– Sir John Goldring
South Yorkshire police assemble before the 'Battle of Orgreave'. Credit: ITV

Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign Secretary Barbara Jackson said she believes the evidence of links between the investigation of both events and some of the individuals involved cannot be ignored.

A lot of people are digging around now and looking really seriously at this in a way that probably hasn't been done before.

We were not been able to talk about this until the end of the Hillsborough inquest but it was the same police, the same chief constable, the same senior police team and, now, the same solicitor.

It was the same issues over the falsification of statements and it was the same solicitor advising.

– Barbara Jackson
A sea of police helmets faced the miners pickets outside the Orgreave coking plant Credit: PA

South Yorkshire Police referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in 2012 over allegations that officers colluded to write court statements relating to Orgreave.

The watchdog later said a formal investigation had been prevented by the passage of time but said there was "support" for the allegation that senior police exaggerated pickets' use of violence.

Earlier this month the IPCC said that it is now considering whether an unredacted version of its report into Orgreave can now be made public.