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63 fans complain about excessive police force
Police and fans engaged in bloody clashes on the streets of Manchester after the Uefa Cup final
Police and fans engaged in bloody clashes on the streets of Manchester after the Uefa Cup final

POLICE are investigating 63 complaints - about themselves - after the violent clashes at last month's Uefa cup final in Manchester.

Thirty-eight Rangers fans have made allegations about officers, with the majority claiming they used excessive force.

It comes as the Evening Times learned the policing bill for the night hit £250,000.

Forty-two supporters were arrested when a "friendly invasion" by 200,000 Scots turned ugly during the 2-0 defeat to Zenit St Petersburg.

The failure of a screen set up to show the match at Piccadilly Gardens sparked a drunken rampage through city streets.

Police launched baton charges against around 200 bottle-hurling yobs, whose behaviour was described as "completely unacceptable" by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Fifteen officers were injured and dramatic CCTV footage showed one being dragged to safety by a former solidier after he was caught, punched and kicked by a baying mob.

More than 100 members of the public contacted police in the wake of the violence to praise them for their actions.

But now Greater Manchester Police (GMP) is investigating a string of complaints which could potentially lead to disciplinary action or form the basis for compensation claims.

GMP tried to refer three cases to watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The IPCC reviewed the evidence and have declined to get involved "at this stage".

It is understood the £250,000 policing bill will be picked up by the Uefa Cup final organising committee.

Some 1,500 officers were involved in the operation on May 14. GMP will not be compensated for a further £250,000 worth of policing that was effectively "lost" as officers had to be redeployed from their normal beats.

Manchester City Council is now drawing up a cost-benefit analysis into whether the final was a worthwhile for the city.

The event was estimated to be worth up to £25m for the city - but the majority of that will have gone direct to private business.

Rangers Supporters' Trust spokesman David Edgar said: "We want fans involved in violence to be caught and punished.

"However, everyone has to be held accountable for their actions. If GMP policed the event as well as the claimed to have, then they won't have a problem.

"We have heard of supporters cowering in doorways and police indiscriminately targeting everybody. The behaviour of a few supporters was shocking and unacceptable. But the behaviour of certain police men and women was indiscriminate.

"The supporters who have made official complaints are decent fans. Some of them are doctors and lawyers. They way they see it they have been very badly mistreated and they will take it all the way."

A GMP spokesman said: "The force has received 38 complaints about officers' conduct, the majority of which are for excessive force. It has also received 108 messages of support."

Three of these complaints have been referred to the IPCC, but it has declined to manage them and referred them back to GMP.

"Following the Uefa Cup final the force has also received 108 messages of support and/or praise from members of the public regarding the policing operation that day."

Publication date 03/06/08

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