More than 5,000 complaints made against Met's riot squad but only tiny proportion upheld

More than 5,000 complaints have been made against Scotland Yard's riot squad, mostly for 'oppressive behaviour', it emerged today.

But only nine - less than 0.18% - were 'substantiated' or upheld after an investigation by the force's complaints department.

Details of all allegations lodged against the Metropolitan Police Service's territorial support group (TSG) were released under the Freedom of Information Act and revealed the TSG has been subject of 5,241 complaints since August 2005.

Ian Tomlinson

More than 5,000 complaints have been made about the Metropolitan Police's territorial support group, including the alleged brutality against Ian Tomlinson, 47, during April's G20 protests

They include 376 allegations of discrimination and 977 complaints of 'incivility'.

More than 1,100 of the allegations concerned what members of the public believed were 'failures in duty'.

By far the largest number of complaints - 2,280 - were categorised as 'oppressive behaviour'.

Figures obtained by the Guardian showed that more than 2,000 of the complaints were 'unsubstantiated' by the force's department for professional standards, while the rest were resolved at the police station, dismissed, discontinued or dealt with in other ways.

It has led to criticism that TSG officers, who respond to outbreaks of disorder in London, were 'practically immune' from complaints.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said the force treated allegations of misconduct by officers 'extremely seriously'.

Mark Jones

Pc Mark Jones has had 31 complaints lodged against him since 1993, but was cleared this week of assault

The TSG is under investigation for the most high-profile cases of alleged brutality at the G20 protests, including the death of Ian Tomlinson.

Earlier this week one of its officers was identified as being present at a 'serious, gratuitous and prolonged' attack on a Muslim man.

Pc Mark Jones, 42, was one of six officers present at an attack on Babar Ahmad, 34, who was allegedly punched, kicked, stamped on and strangled during his arrest at his home in Tooting, south London.

A former Royal Marine, Jones has had 31 complaints lodged against him since 1993.

Twenty-six were assault allegations, most lodged by black or Asian men, but none were substantiated.

He returned to duty on Wednesday after being cleared in another case of alleged racially aggravated assault.

Jenny Jones, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), the force's watchdog, said last night the figures revealed TSG officers were 'practically immune' from criticism in the force.

'The fact that less than 0.2% of complaints about the TSG succeed suggest its officers are protected within the Met to the extent that there is a culture of impunity.'

A Scotland Yard spokesman said that given the nature of the work of the TSG, officers often found themselves in 'confrontational policing situations'.

He said: 'They also work as a team and there are a number of circumstances where a whole team may be subject to a complaint.

'It is of note that of 5,241 allegations received from August 1 2005 to July 31 2009 only nine were substantiated.

'All Metropolitan Police Service employees are expected to behave professionally, ethically and with the utmost integrity at all times.

'Any incidence where the conduct of our staff is alleged to fall below the standards of behaviour expected is treated extremely seriously by the MPS.'

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