A request made under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed some appalling figures detailing complaints made about the Metropolitan Police’s Territorial Support Group (TSG):
The TSG has been the subject of 5,241 allegations since August 2005. They include 376 allegations of discrimination and 977 complaints of “incivility”. More than 1,100 of the allegations concerned what members of the public said were “failures in duty”. However by far the largest number of complaints – 2,280 – were categorised as “oppressive behaviour”.
Just over 2,000 (38%) were “unsubstantiated” by the Met’s department for professional standards, while the rest were resolved at the police station, dismissed, discontinued or dealt with in other ways.
It left just nine complaints ‘substantiated’ by the Met. The Met responded to the figures:
Senior Met officers say the TSG’s work, involving drug raids and demonstrations, means they are more likely to face complaints than other officers.
Of course this is a ludicrous defence, which would suggest a thoroughly implausible situation whereby thousands of people regularly make unfounded allegations against the TSG – the unit’s attack on Babar Ahmad was only the tip of the iceberg. And Ahmad’s lawyer Fiona Murphy points out why:
The reasons are clear: the commission continues to rely upon poor-quality local police investigations and adopts a decidedly “arm’s length” approach to its supervisory and management responsibilities. In consequence, it has failed to identify the inadequacies in those investigations at a sufficiently early stage to have any prospect of remedying the evidential deficiencies. This formal system is permeated by a lack of will, and the outcomes stand in marked contrast to the redress achieved by individual victims on their own account in the civil courts.
Compensation claims are a flawed and inadequate response and have proven wholly ineffective in the face of oppressive and discriminatory abuse of powers by the TSG. Officers continue to enjoy an effective immunity from criminal and disciplinary sanction.
Babar Ahmad’s attacker continues to get away with it, and Ian Tomlinson’s attacker has still not faced justice for his actions. For all the Met’s mealy mouthed words about changes in policing after the G20 fiasco, they’re still quite literally getting away with murder.
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