The independent authority for the investigation of allegations against the police on Wednesday said police labour unions fail, or refuse to accept, that one of its functions is to quell false accusations against officers.

The authority published a statement in the aftermath of the incidents that took place on Sunday after a basketball match at Eleftheria stadium, where police resorted to using tear gas to break up rioting fans.

Three policemen were injured in the incident which also saw the offices of the bus company opposite the stadium burned down. Two people have been arrested.

The statement came in response to comments from head of police union Asdyk Loucas Andreou, who told CyBC radio on Tuesday that the authority is “waiting to pounce on officers for even the slightest mistake”.

“It pains us to have to make this statement, but we have been left with no choice,” it read.

The authority clarified that in order to act as a deterrent to malicious and baseless allegations against members of the police, it has adopted detailed internal procedures whereby complaints that are obviously baseless are not forwarded for investigation but filed at an early stage.

For complaints that are submitted and from which evidence emerges that needs investigation, they are of course investigated, as required by the relevant legislation, as is the role of the authority, the statement added.

The authority expressed “even greater regret” after hearing the union head admit that police officers consciously do not intervene vigorously to deal with incidents, “something that effectively encourages them to abstain from the proper and legal execution of their duties”.

The statement concluded that it should be self-evident through the work it has carried out in the almost 17 years of its operation, that any attempt to limit the authority’s powers will have negative consequences, both on the work of the police itself and on the efforts made by the state to crack down on cases of arbitrariness and abuse of power.