22/10/2012 Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire


Dan Johnson uncovers new evidence about the conduct of South Yorkshire police, following the acquittal of 95 miners charged with rioting at Orgreave during the miners' strike.

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Welcome to Inside Out. I am Toby Foster. I am at Orgreave, the scene


of the bitter minor battle in 1984. There are two accounts of what


happened that day, one from the miners and one from the police. We


have got evidence that suggested the police doctor statements which


could have led to the culture which five years later on would see the


In September the Hillsborough Independent Panel released its


report into the stadium disaster of April 1989. It revealed a catalogue


of accusations against South Yorkshire Police, the Ambulance


Service, Sheffield Wednesday and many others. But of all its


shocking findings, what stands out is the evidence that 116 police


statements were changed in an attempt to put the blame for the


disaster onto Liverpool supporters. The new evidence with which we are


presented today makes it clear, in my view, that these families have


suffered a double injustice. The injustice of the appalling events,


the failure of the state to protect their loved ones and the


indefensible wait to get to the truth, and then the injustice of


the denigration of the deceased, that they were somehow at fault for


their own deaths. On the face of it there seems little connection


between the miners' strike in the 1980s and what happened on the


Leppings Lane that terrace but tonight we will reveal that


Hillsborough, far from being an isolated event, was, in fact, part


of a pattern of senior South Yorkshire officers manipulating the


statements made by junior officers and while Hillsborough resonated


around the world, what happened at Orgreave in June 1984 has been left


as a footnote in history. In the aftermath of Hillsborough


South Yorkshire police systematically altered the witness


statements of its own officers. Tonight we'll reveal how five years


earlier the same force deliberately moulded statements so it could


prosecute miners at Orgreave for riot, an offence that potentially


carried a life sentence. They wanted to teach the miners a


lesson, a big lesson, so that the miners wouldn't come out in force


again. I was punched, kicked, prodded, you


name it. I walked in, and I was nearly carried out.


You can see in a way that they were trying merely to set the scenario,


but actually what they were doing was teeing up, perverting the


course of justice. I was a bit surprised when I came


in and someone said we need to have this as a starting paragraph.


However I'd never been involved in a situation where so many people


were arrested. The violence and intimidation that


we have seen should never have happened. It is the work of


extremists. It is the enemy within. Oh, what a lovely summer.


Oh, what a long, long strike. But if we have to go through it all


again, We would still stand up and fight.


Convoys of coal going from Orgreave. Men standing side by side.


Women serving the soup for them, Watching lories of coal go by.


Rows and rows of men in blue. Horses, dogs and truncheons too.


Hitting miners, they didn't care who.


It's not so long ago that Yorkshire was synonymous with mining. Before


the 1984 strike, this region was dotted with 60 collieries. Each of


them supporting a community and giving thousands of miners jobs.


Coal kept the lights on and powered industry. But now only three


underground pits remain in Yorkshire, like this one at


Hatfield near Doncaster. The strike was the turning point


for the industry. The miners, led by Arthur Scargill, believed that


the government planned to shut down hundreds of pits. Faced with the


loss of their jobs, most Yorkshire miners came out on strike. They


hoped to choke the country's supply of energy and force Mrs Thatcher to


back down. No way. Move! crucially most Nottinghamshire


miners kept working, believing their pits would be safe. The year-


long dispute pitched miner against miner, and against the government.


But they'd planned ahead. Power stations had stockpiled coal and


tough union laws had made it harder for other workers to support the


miners. Throughout the dispute, pickets and police clashed


regularly. The most notorious flashpoint was at the Orgreave


Coking Plant on the outskirts of Sheffield. The coke produced at


Orgreave fuelled the British Steel mill in Scunthorpe. During the 1972


miners' strike, the National Union of Mineworkers had famously shut


the Saltley Coking plant in Birmingham by sending in flying


pickets. Arthur thought what we should


really do is to have one big pitched battle. Like the one he had


at Saltley Gate. At Saltley Gate, we won.


Saltley acted as the template for the picketing at Orgreave 12 years


later. Only this time, the miners faced a police force and a


government determined not to be beaten.


Almost from the start of the strike in March 1984, there had been


pickets at Orgreave. We shall be coming here until we


stop them wagons. We want that plant shutting down. We want them


stopping them wagons going in. Over the weeks tensions grew and


things finally came to a head on June the 18th. That day up to


10,000 pickets turned up. There to try and stop the miners shutting


the plant were at least 5,000 policemen from many different


forces across the country. The man in overall command that day, was


the South Yorkshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Anthony


Clement. The miners' strike is 100 days old tomorrow and today brought


the worst scenes of violence of the dispute.


The violence lasted most of the day. By the end 93 miners had been


arrested. The official police report said 51 pickets were injured


along with 72 police officers. But, as with Hillsborough, two very


different accounts of what happened emerged.


We were like a phalanx of Roman legionnaires, lined across the


field. Obviously the coke lorries were coming through, infuriating


the pickets and so the level of missiles appeared to increase.


Police horses were deployed. And then on the date in question, the


decision was taken, we were taken from long shields and told we were


to deploy as short shield snatch squads.


It was like a military plan. And when miners arrived in June


sunshine, bare chested. They'd been picketing there for weeks and weeks.


They expected it to be kind of the same ritual. You arrive and the


police are there in a great long line and we push against it and


then it's sort of over with really. And lorries go into the coking


works. There was an understanding and


acceptance that protest was their lawful and legal right but these


idiots who wanted to use the police as Aunt Sallys, the anonymity that


their numbers gave them caused the problem.


It started with the usual pushing and shoving and it was fairly much


OK, but it started to escalate where one or two bricks and bottles


came across. They had dogs on one side. They had


police on horse-back in the field. It was like a medieval battlefield.


The rows upon rows of great long shields. And up on the bridge and


into the village, there were horses and cops across the road. So they


were surrounded. And there were 10,000 miners. And there were a lot


of police. And it was like, click. The decision came from Clements and


off they went. Horses charged straight into the miners. They


could have been trampled to death. The short shield units went in


afterwards. They grabbed people, So that charge by the horses,


Norman, do you think that was justified by the level of violence


that you were encountering? I was a bit surprised to see the horses.


But quite pleased. Cos they'd stopped the bricks being thrown.


You know if the horses are coming charging towards me, swinging them


big night-sticks. You know, I might be built like Gandhi, but I'm not


going to sit down in the road singing, we shall overcome, baby.


I'll you that. So of course we launched bloody bricks at them to


try to stop the charge. These days Michael Mansfield is one


Britain's most famous defence barristers, specialising in


miscarriages of justice. But in 1984 he was only starting to make a


name for himself when he represented several miners in the


first trial which took place in Sheffield in 1985.


The video footage the police themselves took showed a completely


different story. Not the one the BBC put out, but the police footage


was quite different. There were a lot of independent monitors, some


with notebooks, some with cameras and one with a movie camera stuck


up in a tree. The police had no idea to which the extent of what


they were doing, their unlawful activities were being filmed. So if


you put the combination of that package together, you had a record,


a really almost unchallengeable record of a completely different


version of events. The police account reported at the


time was that miners had massed together and launched a violent


assault on the Police. South Yorkshire police claimed there'd


been no choice but to send in mounted policemen and snatch squads


with short shields in order to regain control.


A lot of miners think that there was a concerted attempt at Orgreave


to send them a message that they weren't going to win. Did you see


evidence of that? Yeah, I would say so. The comment, we weren't going


to lose, was upper most in a lot of our minds. Coming from Birmingham,


the previous miners' strike in Birmingham, Saltley Gate,


effectively the pickets had won by pushing through the police lines.


And I wasn't there, I don't think many of the officers I knew were


there because it happened in a previous decade, but it was


something for us professionally, we weren't going to lose.


The miners' maintained that they'd been peacefully picketing and it


was the police who'd attacked them. The video evidence produced in


court contradicted the police So it had two stages. Get em all in


a field and charge and generally batter them and hopefully they'll


retreat, which they did. Up the field, down a railway embankment,


huge injuries. Stef Wysocki was a striking miner


from the Derbyshire coalfield. He went to Orgreave that day to picket.


It were a nice hot summer's day. We were all there in T-shirts. They


were in full riot gear. They knew what were going off. We didn't. I


just stood there with my hands in my pockets. I hadn't done anything


wrong. I was just watching what was going off. It was all new to me.


I'd never seen anything like this before. I just stood there and next


minute I seen all these policemen running up field and I looked round


to see who they were running for. And there were only me there left,


so obviously they were after me. REPORTER: So when they got to you,


did you put any resistance up? whatsoever. None whatsoever.


REPORTER: So when they arrested you, what did you expect to happen?


I hadn't done anything. So I didn't think I would get charged.


Obviously there were a lot of cameras there. And when it got to


court there, they got all the photos of me being arrested at the


top of the hill with no injuries. And when we got to the bottom of


the hill, I'd got injuries and I were in their custody.


REPORTER: What sort of injuries? Bruises, facial cuts. Bleeding.


REPORTER: So you got a bit of a kicking then?


Oh I got a very big kicking. One of things we done was we protected the


arrested person as we went through police lines.


Because I have to say some of my colleagues, or not colleagues,


individuals from other forces weren't above trying to land a


smack on the head of an individual coming through. I wasn't happy


about that. My prisoner, he gets to the holding centre in the state in


which he was arrested. I didn't want someone who was injured who


would then make allegations against me. I said, "what are you arresting


me for"? He said, "throwing stones at a policeman". I said, "look at


my hands. I haven't thrown anything". He said, "they all say


that". So then I was marched down the field, both arms up my back.


Got to the police line. I was banged onto police shields. They


bounced me off. The shields opened and I was punched, kicked, prodded,


you name it. I walked in, and I was nearly carried out. Stage two, we


have to have a recording process, that's the statement process done


by another unit. And unfortunately they were caught out once again


because some of the officers who claimed to have arrested certain


individuals plainly didn't, because they're not in the photographs


accompanying the miners. So basically the second stage process,


the investigation and recording of what happened on the field at


Orgreave was a contrivance. Another barrister who defended the miners


in the Orgreave Trial was Vera Baird.


Officers signed statements saying they'd seen A, they'd seen B,


they'd seen D. Important symptoms of disorder. But actually we got


the log books of the vehicles and many of them hadn't even left home


by the time those things had happened and been taken away. So,


it was a clear plan to make this escalation of the gravity of the


charges really work. I think the allegation was that we


had statements dictated to us or something similar. I was not


dictated to with regards to the statement. But some of the


statements in public order situations can seem formulaic. So


where officers, or in my statement it talks about "I was frightened, I


was apprehensive". Those were forms of words you used because in terms


of the public order act, or it was actually common law then, those


were the things you expressed. Hillsborough Independent Panel


report accused South Yorkshire Police in 1989 of making a


concerted effort to remove damaging references from officers. The panel


found 116 statement had been altered. The police narrative was


that Liverpool fans were drunk and ticketless. Some officers even


falsely claimed to the press that supporters had stolen from the dead


and urinated on people while police officers attempted to save lives.


In the case of Orgreave five years earlier, the manipulation of


statements appears to be even more organised than at Hillsborough. In


1985, the first 15 miners charged with riot were tried here at the


old Sheffield Crown Court. But the trial collapsed in spectacular


style when it became clear the police evidence wasn't reliable.


One officer, PC Stephen Hill, admitted under cross examination


that much of his statement had been narrated to him. PC Hill's version


of events tallies with Inspector Norman Taylor's recollection of


what happened when he was asked to write up his statement. It was like


a big room. And people were in different parts of the room. I


recall this policeman in plain clothes mentioning that he'd had a


good idea of what had happened. And we were from different police


forces. And that there was a preamble to set the scene. And he


was reading from some paper, a paragraph or so. And he asked the


people who were there to use that as their starting paragraph. So you


copied down what they told you to write? So that paragraph, I think


it was basically the time and date, the name of the place. There were


guys from the Met who hadn't a clue where South Yorkshire was. In fact,


it was more than just one paragraph. The arresting officers may have


thought that they were simply describing the scene at Orgreave.


But why did senior South Yorkshire detectives have to dictate a form


of wording for the officers to use? It seems clear the fact that the


exact same phrases appeared in dozens of police witness statements


was no coincidence. To take just one example, 31 officers from four


We've obtained copies of around 100 police witness statements after


Orgreave. And what you see in those statements is fascinating.


Statement after statement from officer after officer, the same


phrases appear over and over again. So was it the intention from the


start to build an exaggerated case of riot against the pickets. And


that charge of riot matters. The common law offence of Riot dates


back to the medieval period. Prior to its use in the Orgreave trials,


nobody in England and Wales had been accused of riot for more than


60 years. But why did South Yorkshire police choose to it?


Whereas a picket convicted of a public order offence such as


throwing a stone might get a fine, pickets convicted of riot were


faced potentially life in prison. Ian Hernon was a political reporter


in the 1980s and went on the write about the history of the Riot Act.


It was a very blunt instrument to suppress civil discontent. It


wasn't used very often. Most famously it was used in the


Peterloo massacre in Manchester as a way of allowing the militia and


the cavalry to kill civilians. It wasn't used very much after that.


In fact the last time that we know for sure that it was used was


during the 1919 police strike in Birkenhead.


But the real key to it was the process that was used after they


were arrested. Two police would arrest one miner. They would take


them back through the police lines to an office and lock him up,


having presented him to a custody sergeant and write their statement


immediately. And in that office, as they told us, were some detectives


who were dictating the paragraphs alleging the scene of disorder


necessary to make a little offence like throwing a pork pie, into a


riot. The main reason I think why the


Orgreave trial collapsed was because the police being totally


out of control, cavalier in the whole affair, were in such a rush


to arrest people, injure people, that who arrested who was lost


track of. So they didn't keep a note of which person had been


arrested by which cop. So they had a whole big bunch of people and


whole big bunch of cops and they just made up who they arrested. And


then they made up the stories associated with who'd done what.


You can see in a way that they were merely trying to set the scenario,


but actually what they were doing was teeing up, perverting the


course of justice. Because these men could not say that those things


had happened yet they were signing a statement saying they knew they'd


be prosecuted if they got it wrong, and come into court and giving


evidence in accordance to their statement of scenes they'd simply


never seen. The people who were arrested that day, were


subsequently charge with riot? Were you surprised? Actually it did.


Because normally the public order offence, Section 5 Public Order


would be the one they used. So even when you get groups of people on a


Friday night or so, that would be it. We took the Orgreave statements


to a leading Sheffield barrister to ask for an independent opinion.


It's very obvious in the Orgreave case that there was widespread


collusion. You can't get statements written in the way they have been


done here, by police officers from different forces involved in


different arrests and find such a degree of similarity between those


statements without there being some degree of collusion. I've just


taken one of a number of examples. This is a West Yorkshire police


officer who is involved in a separate arrest, nothing to do with


this South Yorkshire officer. But when you put their statements


literally side by side, you can see that their statements begin in an


You've got the setting of the scene here as to the date. This passage


here. Exactly the same in the two statements. That's word for word.


Absolutely, and then here's an interesting phrase. "Periodically


there was missile throwing from the back of the ranks, but apart from


this there was no trouble". Now some other statements have the


first part of that but leave out that second bit. But there are


literally several dozen examples of police officers who've used exactly


the same phrase there. I was frankly shocked by Orgreave.


By the deliberate nature of putting together this case against men who


were after all, some of them may have been occasionally violent,


many of them absolutely were not, but after all they were simply


trying to fight for their jobs and that's what they were doing, so I


was shocked by the extent of the politicisation of police, and to


some extent the criminal justice system generally. And how strong do


you think the evidence is that cover that was enacted after


Hillsborough was in their culture already at the time of Orgreave?


I think the evidence is strong. What happened at Orgreave seems to


be on the basis that the police just assumed that if they gave a


particular account of the day's events. Nobody would challenge, or


at least nobody who they thought mattered would challenge them. And


so when you have groups of miners and the miners' communities saying,


"that's not how it happened at Orgreave, we know, that's not how


it happened". Of course there's a parallel there with Liverpool and


Hillsborough. The Hillsborough families have known all along the


truth. But it was an attempt by the police to set the agenda according


the fact that I think at the time they did feel that they could say


these things and that nobody who mattered was going to challenge


them. As indeed is the case, because outside of the trial,


nobody did challenge them and bring them to book.


In those days, every day at about 11 o'clock, we'd all troop over to


Downing Street and the press secretary of that time would brief


us on Margaret Thatcher's attitude. Now even though it's a long time


ago, almost daily we heard the miners described as a bunch of yobs


or yobbos - that was one of the favourite phrases - and how dare


they hold the country to ransom. When we queried police tactics, we


were simply told that anyone who challenges the government or bad


mouths the police is the enemy within.


No doubt at all that it was political. I mean before Orgreave


I'd done other cases and although by the establishment there's been a


continual denial that we have political trials in the United


Kingdom, in fact they're a little more subtle, they don't call them


political trials and it's not a political offence. But essentially


the momentum is undoubtedly political. And as far as 1984


miners' strike and strikes before. This was clearly a political battle


and a political imperative. Thatcher saw the NUM as being


subversive. And that's how they became "the enemy within" so what


could be more political than that? The notable thing about it is that


because it didn't succeed, it was a mass acquittal, very little has


been made of it. If they had been convicted and then acquitted again


years later, that somehow hits the spot in a way that an acquittal


didn't. So there is no doubt among some cases, for instance, Stefan


Kiszko, that was pure dealing with forensic stuff, this is much worse


than some of those cases. Though it's not dissimilar to the kind of


Birmingham Six situation. It is a miscarriage of justice, but not in


a normal sense of the word. Obviously if they'd been found


guilty and had to go to appeal and then got let off, those are the


famous miscarriage of justices. But there's a much bigger miscarriage


of justice here at Orgreave. And it's not isolated because we see


the same thing at Hillsborough. Not a single police officer was


prosecuted. Even ones that were caught on camera beating a


defensive miner, holding one to the ground and beating him in one


particular case, not a single officer prosecuted. Not a single


one was even disciplined. It's obviously difficult because of


the lapse of time. It's now getting on for 30 years since Orgreave. But


the fact remains that if there is evidence that senior police


officers in South Yorkshire Police did apparently conspire together


and this couldn't have happened just on one officers' say so, if


there's evidence of a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, then


in principle, why should they be allowed to live out their


retirements on their pensions with We asked South Yorkshire Police to


participate in this film but they declined. Instead they gave us this


statement. "South Yorkshire Police notes the issues raised in the


programme and will consider whether any review is necessary. The force


is not aware of any adverse comment about the statements from the trial


judge in the case. The police and reputation in mining areas went


crashing to the ground. I was still practising during the miners'


strike. If there was any evidence against a police officer, there


would never be a conviction. There is still strong feelings against


The Battle of Orgreave happened 28 years ago. Ancient history some


might say. But as we've seen tonight and as we've learned


recently with Hillsborough, what lies in the past isn't necessarily


a closed chapter. The South Yorkshire Police of today is


different to its 1980s counterpart, but fate has dictated that the


actions of the force in the 1980s, at Hillsborough and at Orgreave,


will now face closer scrutiny than they ever did at the time. That's


all for tonight. But you can find us on Facebook and follow us on


Dan Johnson investigates the acquittal of 95 miners charged with rioting at Orgreave during the miners' strike and uncovers new evidence about the conduct of South Yorkshire Police.

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