Asian police whistleblower 'was treated like a terrorist'

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The Independent Online

An Asian police sergeant claimed yesterday that he was framed by senior officers and treated like a " terrorist" after he made serious allegations of racism in the force.

An Asian police sergeant claimed yesterday that he was framed by senior officers and treated like a " terrorist" after he made serious allegations of racism in the force.

Gurpal Virdi told an industrial tribunal he was sacked by Scotland Yard after an internal disciplinary panel found him guilty of sending racist hate mail to 18 black and Asian officers, including himself, at Ealing police station, in West London.

It was suggested he had done it to help substantiate a claim of racial discrimination he was thought to be preparing against the Met.

The officer, whose family came from India, was sacked in March. He had given evidence about racism in the Metropolitan Police to the inquiry into the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence. The force, he said, was still smarting from the inquiry's conclusion that it was "institutionally racist".

On 24 December 1997, 13 out of the 15 non-white officers in the Ealing division got a letter telling them to leave the force. A further six letters were delivered to six civilian workers on 19 January 1998. The letters, delivered by the Met's internal mail system, carried a picture of a black man's face and the initials of the National Front. It read: "Not wanted. Keep the police force white, so leave now, or else."

Mr Virdi, who had served for 16 years in the Met, said he had no idea he was under suspicion until 15 April 1998, when he noticed a police surveillance team following him. But when he contacted his chief superintendent he was told he was being paranoid.

"I confronted these officers and I was arrested for distributing racist material and perverting the course of justice," he said.

A special police search team,which usually conducts terrorist searches, scoured Mr Virdi's home for seven hours, he said.

"This search was incredibly distressing and frightening to my children," said Mr Virdi, of Cranford, near Heathrow, west London.

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