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Wednesday, 9 January, 2002, 10:37 GMT
Sikh police officer 'victim of racism'
Gurpal Virdi
Gurpal Virdi won record damages for wrongful sacking
An inquiry into the wrongful sacking of a Sikh police officer, Gurpal Virdi, has concluded he was a victim of racism.

Sergeant Virdi was sacked from the Metropolitan Police in March 2000 after being accused of sending racist hate mail to 13 ethnic minority officers, including himself.

But later that year an employment tribunal ruled he had been discriminated against and he was reinstated in November 2000.

The inquiry was launched by the Metropolitan Police Authority following the tribunal ruling.

Speaking ahead of the formal publication of the report, the inquiry's chairman, David Muir, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme they had found evidence to back up the report's findings.

"The employment tribunal found that race was an issue," Mr Muir said.

"There are ways in which racism creeps into the equation in ways which are unhelpful at this particular stage when the Metropolitan police are trying to recruit more ethnic minority officers," he said.

He added that the inquiry team was also concerned that Mr Virdi was still suspended from work.

Mr Muir said the Met had to change the way it dealt with officers who complained about their treatment.

"In respect of employment tribunal cases I think there had to be a recognition of how these cases are handled and, of course, look at ways that early intervention can be taken before the person goes down the damaging road of employment tribunals," he said.

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