Behind The Blue Line: My fight against racism and discrimination in the Met
Hardback | May 2018 | Biteback Publishing | 9781785903212 | 352pp | 234x156mm | GEN | AUD$39.99, NZD$44.99
Detective Sergeant Gurpal Singh Virdi's exemplary career in the Metropolitan Police Service ended when he spoke out against racism within it: an issue it has long paid lip service to tackling. What came after is simply shocking. On Wednesday 15 April 1998 Virdi was arrested, had his home searched and was suspended on charges of sending racist hate mail to himself and other ethnic minority colleagues. Dismissed in disgrace, an employment tribunal found that he had been racially discriminated against. The Met was forced to give him an apology and compensation. He returned to service but soon discovered, having been passed over for promotion, that when you challenge an organisation like the Met, you are a marked man for life.
Freshly retired and due to stand in local elections as a Labour councillor, Virdi was arrested again and accused of the most horrendous of crimes: sexually assaulting an underage prisoner nearly three decades before. When it came to court, it took just fifty minutes to acquit the former police man of all charges, with the trial judge noting the likelihood of a conspiracy behind the case. But the damage had been done. For seventeen years the Met had pursued a vendetta against one blameless individual who dared to speak out against injustices, and it had driven him and his family to the edge of the abyss.
This is the deeply shocking story of how one of the biggest institutions in the country brought the entire apparatus of state to bear in a campaign to destroy the life of one of its own officers in an apparent act of revenge.