A POLICE officers’ union leader has said there should be “a truth and reconciliation commission” into the policing of the miners’ strike in Scotland.

Scottish Police Federation vice-chair David Hamilton said the dispute in 1984-85 had “dented his view of the police” as a child.

The intervention will pile pressure on justice secretary Michael Matheson, who has spent over a year considering whether to order a Hillsborough-style inquiry into the dispute.

Home secretary Amber Rudd is also facing calls at Westminster to carry out a review of material relating to the so-called Battle of Orgreave. Clashes at the Orgreave coking plant in South Yorkshire in 1984, one of the key flashpoints of the industrial dispute, set the tone for policing of picket lines in the rest of the UK.

Nearly 500 former Scottish miners are left with criminal records that campaigners claim were unsafe and politically motivated.

Hamilton, an inspector with Police Scotland, said he was critical of the treatment of the miners. However, he said it was too late for a full-scale inquiry.

However, he backed the idea of a truth and reconciliation commission, a court-like restorative justice body used in post-apartheid South Africa.

He said: "The miners' strike was in 1984. I don’t think there are currently any Scottish police officers who were serving then.

"I was 12 at the time and had just gone to secondary school. I remember my mother railing about police brutality as we sat at home watching the news and it certainly dented my view of the police.

"Now after 21 years as a police officer I cannot make any connection between what I saw on TV news and the service I am part of today.

He added: "The time for in enquiry was in the 80s. Now it will serve nothing.

"Tactics, approaches, laws, politics and relations have all changed.

"Now we warn people over a PA system what we are going to do (often in multiple languages) before we do it. It’s just a different world.

"Maybe a truth and reconciliation commission would be a better option but certainly not an expensive public inquiry."

Matheson held private talks about an inquiry in December 2016 with campaigners including former miners, lawyers and Labour MSP Neil Findlay.

Last night Findlay said Hamilton's intervention could be a breakthrough. He said: "He clearly recognises the damage that this period did to the relations between mining communities and the police.

"That is a real step forward and I welcome his comments".

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said Matheson was still considering the issue.

She said: “The Scottish Government has been considering a number of legal and procedural questions which have emerged around this matter and the justice secretary has informed Parliament that he will confirm his decision on a way forward in due course.”