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London police chief apologizes for 'witch hunt' against Iran-born officer

London, June 6, IRNA - Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Ian Blair has issued an apology for the "considerable damage' caused between the force and its ethnic minority officers by carrying out a virtual racist witch hunt against an Iranian born superintendent.

The apology comes after Ali Dizaei, one of the police's highest ranking Muslim officers, was acquitted of alleged corruption charges in 2005 after a four-year investigation, code name Operation Helios, that reportedly cost Pnds 4 million (Dlrs 7.8m).

In a letter sent to staff members on Tuesday night, Blair acknowledged that "mistakes were made" in tapping phone calls made by Dizaei and other black and Asian officers suing the police for racism.

"It is clear that Operation Helios has caused considerable damage to relationships between the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) and the Black Police Association," he said.

The Iranian-born officer was legal adviser to the National Black Police Association (NBPA) and helped officers sue forces for discrimination when he was suspended back in January 2001.

"The MPS accepts that in the course of Operation Helios among the conversations recorded and transcribed were some that were legally privileged and others which concerned matters confidential to the workings of the NBPA," the police commissioner said.

He said the police "recognises the damaging effect that this had on its relationship with both its own BPA, and the BPA nationally, as well as the wider effect on community relations."

"This has had a deep and lasting impact on certain individuals for which I apologise," Blair said, but also insisted that there was "no evidence that the MPS misused any intercepted material." Since being cleared of all charges, Dizaei has returned to the MPS and is currently chief superintendent in charge of policing in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in west London.

... Payvand News - 6/6/07 ... --

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