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Friday, 1 December, 2000, 13:38 GMT
Police reinstate sacked Sikh officer

Sergeant Gupal Virdi still wants a public apology
The Metropolitan Police have reinstated a Sikh police sergeant who was sacked after being accused of sending racist hate mail.

The force has also apologised to Gurpal Virdi, who was dismissed in March after a disciplinary panel found him guilty of sending the mail to ethnic minority officers in the division where he was based in Ealing, West London.

Sgt Virdi took his case to an employment tribunal which, in August, found there was no evidence against him, and that he had been the victim of racial discrimination by investigating officers.


They have offered me reinstatement but I can't just say I'm coming back for more of the same

Sergeant Gupal Virdi
He has now been formally reinstated on full pay after an appeal against his dismissal.

But he will remain on "special leave" until an agreement can be reached over a possible posting.

After the tribunal in August, Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Grieve said that despite the tribunal's findings he could not say sorry to Sgt Virdi.

His comments prompted the Metropolitan Police's independent advisory group to accuse the force of failing to learn the lessons of the Stephen Lawrence case.

'Considering offer'

Following his reinstatement, Sgt Virdi was handed a letter of apology from Deputy Commissioner Ian Blair.

The letter said the force accepted unconditionally the findings of the employment tribunal, and apologised to Sgt Vidal and his family "for the distress that this extended episode has caused".

Deputy Commissioner Ian Blair
Deputy Commissioner Ian Blair: Wrote letter of apology
"We accept the findings that you were a victim of racial discrimination in the way that the investigation was conducted and therefore in your subsequent arrest and suspension, and the search of your home," the letter said.

But Sgt Virdi said he still wanted a public apology, adding that he would be considering the force's offer of reinstatement over the next few days.

"They have offered me reinstatement but I can't just say I'm coming back for more of the same.

"It's not fair on me or my family."

'Lessons'

David Muir, who is leading a Metropolitan Police Authority investigation into Sgt Virdi's dismissal, said his reinstatement was a "step in the process of moving forward".

There were significant lessons to be learned from Sgt Virdi's case, he said.

A remedy hearing following Sgt Virdi's first employment tribunal case is due to take place next Tuesday.

Sgt Virdi, backed by the Commission for Racial Equality, has also lodged a second employment tribunal claim, challenging the findings of the Metropolitan Police's internal disciplinary board and his dismissal.

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