The London Metropolitan Police, popularly known as Scotland Yard, is facing a serious credibility problem in the fight against sexual violence. One of its own members, David Carrick, 48, (known among his colleagues as “Bastard Dave” for his aggressive nature) on Monday admitted raping and sexually assaulting a dozen women over the course of nearly two decades, in what prosecutors described as one of the most shocking cases involving a serving police officer.
Carrick pleaded guilty in a Southwark court to dozens of crimes, including 24 rapes and numerous sexual offenses, between 2003 and 2020. Despite the complaints and internal investigations opened against him during all this time – up to 14 of them for harassment, domestic violence and rape – the police force allowed Carrick to remain on the force. His case puts a spotlight on the serious problems that Scotland Yard is facing as it seeks to act against its most misogynistic and problematic members. It also underscores the way in which the institution has protected itself all these years through a culture of secrecy and internal complicity.
“There is no place in our police forces for officers who fall so seriously short of the acceptable standards of behavior and who are not fit to wear the uniform,” said the spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. “Police forces must root out these officers to restore the public’s trust, which has been shattered by high profile events such as this.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that “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.”
Carrick, who joined London’s Metropolitan Police force in 2001, had served with the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, which is in charge of providing security to foreign lawmakers and dignitaries. He was suspended in July 2021, after being arrested for a first formal rape complaint. Three months later, a new case against him landed him in court. Until then, all of his victims had dropped their legal action and the internal investigations had been shelved.
“We have failed. And I’m sorry. He should not have been a police officer,” said Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley on Monday. “This man abused women in the most disgusting manner. It is sickening. We’ve let women and girls down, and indeed we’ve let Londoners down.” Rowley said the agency would investigate 1,000 sexual and domestic abuse claims involving around 800 officers.
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 mannerLondon Mayor Sadiq Khan
In October 2021, a woman told the Hertfordshire County Police Department that Carrick had attacked her a year earlier at a St. Albans hotel, the Premier Inn. He grabbed her by the neck and kept insulting her. When several officers went to the defendant’s home to make the arrest, his response at the door was: “Again?” It was the eighth time in 10 years that the police had been warned about his predatory nature, but the cases had not progressed. The police claim a lack of cooperation from the victims.
He bragged to some of his victims that he had been part of the prime minister’s security detail, and contacted many of them through social media and dating apps. During the trial, held behind closed doors, his sadistic practices emerged. He had kept the women locked up in a small pantry located in the basement of his house. He forced them to perform oral and anal sex, and to clean the house completely naked. He even beat one of them with a belt, and described all of them as “whores” and “slaves” in the text messages that emerged during the investigation. He urinated on some of his victims, and intimidated them all with his badge and his alleged authority, in a bid to terrorize them into silence.
For more than a year, the judicial investigation has been carried out in secrecy. Carrick’s confession, however, and the admission of guilt by Scotland Yard authorities, explain Mayor Kahn’s decision in February of last year to suddenly dismiss Cressida Dick, then the head of the Metropolitan Police, without providing explanations. The move was rumored at the time to be tied to a scandal at London Charing Cross police station, where several officers had exchanged sexist, racist and homophobic messages. By then, the mayor had already been alerted to the seriousness of Carrick’s case.
Scotland Yard has announced plans to review one by one the nearly 1,000 internal investigations carried out in the past against its own officers, out of a total force of over 45,000 individuals. The probes range from accusations of domestic violence to crimes against sexual freedom.
Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary, brought up the case of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old executive who was kidnapped at night in the middle of the street by a police officer who raped, murdered and dismembered her in London in March 2021. She said the Carrick case “is further evidence of appalling failures in the police vetting and misconduct processes, still not addressed by government.”
Carrick will be sentenced on February 6.
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