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Wednesday, 6 February, 2002, 15:48 GMT
Police chief apologises to Asian officer
Metropolitan police commissioner Sir John Stevens
Sir John told Gurpal Virdi he has been "fully vindicated"
An Asian police officer who was falsely accused of sending racist hate mail has received an apology from the Metropolitan Police.

Force commissioner Sir John Stevens made the apology to Sergeant Gurpal Virdi on Wednesday.

Mr Virdi, 43, will be paid 90,000 compensation by the force for "injury to his feelings" from the case.

A clause in his agreement with the Met also enables him to sue the culprit who actually sent the mail, if they can be found.

Sergeant Gurpal Virdi arriving at Scotland Yard on Wednesday
Gurpal Virdi wants to get back to work
Mr Virdi has already won 150,000 for racial discrimination after winning a tribunal action he brought against the force.

In a 45-minute meeting at Scotland Yard Sir John apologised to Mr Virdi and his wife Sathat for their ordeal and looked forward to Mr Virdi starting work again.

Sir John said: "I am very pleased Mr Virdi has decided to accept his reinstatement to the Metropolitan Police Service and believe it is very courageous for him to return.

"We recognise Mr Virdi that you, your family and the local Sikh community have suffered substantially by reason of these unfortunate events.

"Mr Virdi has now been fully vindicated."

Sir John also expressed his regret that Mr Virdi's parents, who have both died since the allegations were made, had not survived to see their son's name cleared.

Following the meeting Mr Virdi said: "The Commissioner was very supportive, he said we should go on holiday and that we deserved it.

The clear message is we should not run away from racists, that's why I am coming back

Gurpal Virdi
"He was very concerned about welfare and I really appreciate what he said."

Mr Virdi will now return to work at Scotland Yard, four years after being suspended.

He will work for assistant commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, the Met's most senior Asian officer, who was also at the meeting on Wednesday.

Mr Virdi said: "I will be working for him looking at community issues and policy.

"I have been out of the service for four years and it will be a desk job until I retrain myself and get back on to front line duty.

"It is time to put this to an end. We have got the apology and it is time to move on and give London a better police service."

Traumatic time

Mr Virdi, a Sikh and father-of-two, who was based in west London, was dismissed after other officers and civilian staff received the hate mail.

He said: "That person should be hunted down. There is no place for people like that in the police force.

"The clear message is we should not run away from racists, that's why I am coming back.

"There are good officers and I hope to work with them and improve the police service."

Mr Virdi is already dealing with cases of other ethnic-minority officers who feel they have been denied promotions or verbally abused.

His wife Sathat, 41, said: "It's been four years of trauma for us, we want to put it behind us and I hope there will be a place for him in the police service."

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