CPS studies secret tape of 'police race attack'

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The Independent Online
THE CROWN Prosecution Service was last night studying a transcript of a secret tape recording which appears to show two Metropolitan Police constables racially abusing and assaulting an Asian man whom they had just arrested.

The transcript was sent to the CPS last month on the orders of Judge Peter Jackson from Snaresbrook Crown Court in east London, after he quashed the conviction imposed by magistrates on Malkanjit Natt, of Plaistow, east London, for using threatening behaviour. The judge told the court that he had been 'disturbed' by what he had heard.

The tape recording was broadcast yesterday afternoon in a BBC Radio 4 documentary on racial attacks and relations between police and black people in east London. Local campaigners said yesterday that it reinforced their belief that the police habitually racially abused black people.

A CPS spokeswoman said that the tape transcript was being studied by officials before a decision over further action was taken.

Mr Natt was arrested in January 1991 by two women police officers after an allegation that he had threatened his wife. After an altercation with the two officers, during which it was alleged that he resisted arrest, two male constables were summoned to assist.

Mr Natt was restrained and was being driven to Plaistow police station in police car when the incident was recorded.

In the recording, although indistinct, the two policemen are heard telling Mr Natt, who has lived in Britain for 12 years, that this was 'not his country' and insisting that his home was in India.

One officer says that if he had been in India, far worse would have happened. 'That's what we should do with you, fucking shoot you,' he says. 'Wanker', the other officer adds, although it is not clear to whom this comment is directed. Mr Natt is then advised to go home 'to India or Pakistan or wherever you fucking come from'. One of the officers adds: 'It's not your fucking country.'

Towards the end of the tape, Mr Natt is heard to ask: 'Why are you beating me?' The officer is heard to reply: 'Because I like it.'

The tape was later played during interviews between Mr Natt and police in the presence of his solicitor and an inquiry was launched by the local complaints unit. In January this year, both constables were found guilty of discreditable conduct and each fined one day's pay.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said the file had not been sent to the CPS because there had been no evidence of criminal behaviour. 'Neither the investigating officers nor the discipline tribunal, which heard all the evidence, found any suggestion of assault,' the spokesman added.

Mr Natt said that he carried the hidden tape recorder because he had been arrested on a number of earlier occasions and was concerned at what might happen to him. In November last year, he was found guilty by magistrates of threatening behaviour, which was quashed by the Crown Court after the tape was played.

The judge upheld his conviction for assaulting one of the women police officers.