More than 16,000 complaints were made about the Police Service of Northern Ireland in the last five years, according to new figures.

But less than 3% of those claims against police officers submitted to NI Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson's office were upheld.

Figures contained in the independent watchdog's Equality Monitoring Report also indicate that young men are most likely to make a complaint.

The report, which covers the period April 2006 to March 2011, shows that almost 50% of the complaints it received were from men aged under-45.

A Police Ombudsman spokeswoman said men aged under-24 are the group most likely to complain.

70% of the people who complained about police were men and 30% were women.

"Traditional Northern Ireland politics does not seem to be a factor when people make complaints about the police," said the spokeswoman.

"There were no real differences in the types of allegations made against the police according to the broad category of political opinion stated by respondents in terms of either support for Unionism or Nationalism."

Of people who complained, 26% said they had a disability and 11% were not born in Northern Ireland.