CPS clears Asian police officer of waging race-hate campaign

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The Independent Online
AN ASIAN police officer who was arrested and accused of sending racist hate-mail has been told by the Crown Prosecution Service that he has no case to answer.

Sergeant Gurpal Virdi's arrest led to surprise and consternation among other ethnic minorities officers. It came soon after a row between him and fellow officers, whom he accused of failing to treat as racist attacks the beatings and stabbings of an Iraqi and an Indian student by a gang of white youths.

Sergeant Virdi has been suspended for the past 10 months, while a criminal investigation was carried out into allegations that he had sent racist material to himself and other non-white officers and civilian staff at Ealing and neighbouring stations in west London.

While waiting to be told whether he faced charges for allegedly distributing racist material and attempting to pervert the course of justice, Sgt Virdi, an officer with 17 years service, had made a submission to Sir William Macpherson's inquiry into the death of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence, over the case of the Iraqi and Indian students.

The sergeant told the inquiry that he had carried out the arrests of two of the suspects in the white gang and then recovered a knife allegedly used in the attack. He subsequently discovered that, despite his observations on the matter as the arresting officer, and those of parents of the two victims, the attack was not recorded as a racist crime. He claims that in the subsequent trial of the five white youths he was not asked to give evidence. One was convicted of grievous bodily harm with intent, two of affray and the other two were found not guilty.

A white female officer was informally interviewed over the sending of the racist material - which depicted a computer-generated image of a black man accompanied by the message "keep the police service white" - but no further action was taken.

In April last year ,while he was taking his children to the dentist, Sgt Virdi realised that he was being followed. When he confronted those following him, he was told that they were officers from Scotland Yard's complaints investigation branch and that he was under arrest. The next day it was reported in the Daily Mail that an Asian officer had been arrested for conducting a race-hate campaign.

Officers carried out an eight-hour search of his home and confiscated his diary, his child's computer and press-cuttings his wife had kept on the Stephen Lawrence inquiry.

Sgt Virdi, who is also a school governor, is now pursuing a case for damages against the Metropolitan police. His wife, Sathat, told the Independent on Sunday: "Obviously we are very pleased that the CPS has decided there is no evidence to charge my husband, but this has been a traumatic and disillusioning time for us."