An active-duty London police officer on Monday admitted his responsibility in a nearly two decade-long campaign of abuse against women.
The 48-year-old man pleaded guilty to 49 offenses, including 20 counts of rape. The charges against him also included assault and false imprisonment.
It was the latest case to plague London’s Metropolitan Police (Met), which has suffered from a collapse in public confidence due to its handling of problematic cops.
Prosecutors said officer David Carrick used his position of power to control and intimidate his victims, telling them no one would believe their word against his, given his status as a member of the police.
“This man abused women in the most disgusting manner. It is sickening,” Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley said in a statement.
The case drew a wave of condemnation across Britain. A spokesman for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the case “appalling.”
“Police forces must root out these officers to restore the public’s trust, which has been shattered by high profile events such as this,” Sunak’s spokesman said.
Carrick’s abuse was ‘relentless,’ top prosecutor says
Carrick joined the Met in 2001 and has been charged for events that took place between 2003 and 2020.
He allegedly met some of his victims through online dating apps or on social occasions, using his position as a police officer to gain their trust, authorities said.
Chief Crown Prosecutor Jaswant Narwal said he then “relentlessly degraded, belittled, sexually assaulted and raped women.”
Carrick isolated women socially and financially, and often held them against their will, going as far as controlling what they wore and when they slept, prosecutors said.
The case follows the high-profile death of Sarah Everard on March 2021 in south London. Everard was raped and killed by on-duty officer Wayne Couzens, after he stopped her on the street and falsely claimed she had broken coronavirus lockdown rules.
London police: ‘We have failed’
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, whose office oversees the police departments, said he was “sickened and appalled” by the case.
“Londoners will be rightly shocked that this man was able to work for the Met for so long and serious questions must be answered about how he was able to abuse his position as an officer in this horrendous manner,” he added.
Met Commissioner Rowley apologized to victims on Monday, saying Carrick went unpunished due to “systemic failures.”
“We have failed. And I’m sorry. He should not have been a police officer,” Rowley said.
An in-depth review of Carrick’s former service as a soldier and complaints record was carried out in October 2021, after he was first charged with rape, and it found he was already on police systems for a series of off-duty incidents before and after he joined the force.
None of those complaints of rape, domestic violence and harassment managed to deliver criminal sanctions or internal disciplinary proceedings.
The Met “should have been more intrusive and joined the dots on this repeated misogyny over a couple of decades” and “should have been more determined to root out such a misogynist,” Rowley admitted.
Met Assistant Commissioner Barbara Gray admitted that the pattern of abusive behavior should have been spotted earlier.
“Because we didn’t, we missed opportunities to remove him from the organization,” Gray said. “We are truly sorry that Carrick was able to continue to use his role as a police officer to prolong the suffering of his victims,” she added.
A report published last November found that a culture of misogyny and predatory behavior was “prevalent” in many police forces in England and Wales. The findings indicated that lax vetting standards for police officers played a role.
jcg/wd (AP, Reuters, AFP)