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Friday, 3 March, 2000, 21:59 GMT
Sikh officer sent hate mail
Gurpal Virdi
Gurpal Virdi sent himself race hate mail
A Metropolitan Police sergeant has been dismissed after he was found guilty of sending racist hate mail to himself and 18 colleagues.

Sikh sergeant Gurpal Virdi, 41, had 11 counts of sending racist mail to Ealing police station proven against him.

He had been accused of mounting a false hate mail campaign by sending two batches of letters between December 1997 and January 1998.


Anyone who sends racist mail is doing something despicable

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Michael Todd
The four-week panel heard how some 13 out of the 15 ethnic minority officers at the Ealing division received a letter on Christmas Eve 1997 telling them to quit the force.

'Leave now or else!'

Delivered via the Met's internal mail system, each envelope 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!"

The disciplinary tribunal found that Virdi, who had served for 16 years in the Met, had created the letters on his own computer at work just hours before they were delivered.

A further six letters delivered to civilian workers on 19 January 1998 were also blamed on the married father-of-two.

The panel later decided that Virdi, of Cranford, near Heathrow, should be summarily dismissed from the Metropolitan force for his actions, which were described by a senior investigating officer as "despicable".

protestors
Virdi's supporters say he is innocent
Earlier it heard how Virdi attempted to cover up his authorship of the second batch of letters by using the secret password of a female colleague to make it look as if she was behind the racist campaign.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Michael Todd, who co-ordinated the investigation, said after the judgment: "The ruling is very fair when you look at the effect of what Sergeant Virdi did on his victims, namely those officers who received hate mail and the female officer whom he effectively attempted to frame.

"Anyone who sends racist mail is doing something despicable. When it is sent to someone's colleagues, as in this case, it is all the worse."

Institutional racism

But the ruling has sparked outrage among anti-racism campaign groups.

Following the hearing Virdi said he was the victim of institutional racism and called for an inquiry into the case.

He said: "An injustice has been done here today. It is very sad for the Metropolitan Police and we will lodge an immediate appeal."

Virdi admitted he could not explain how the letters had been produced by a user at Hanwell Police Station using his own secret password.

"I intend to fight on," he said. "I intend to overturn this finding and return one day to the Met.

"We would also like a public inquiry because this whole thing stinks of corruption, just stinks like other cases of this type - Lawrence and Menson."

A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police Independent Advisory Group, which witnessed the otherwise closed disciplinary proceedings, said: "What we have seen today is sadly not a surprise.

"This was an investigation process which refused to accept that institutional racism had played a part in what happened.

"We do not take a view on the guilt or otherwise of Sergeant Virdi but we believe he has been the subject of a process which is fundamentally unfair."

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