Years after alarm was raised, UK police officer admits rape

David Carrick admits to dozens of sexual offences over 18 years while in London’s Metropolitan Police.

London's Metropolitan Police apologised to officer David Carrick's victims for not identifying what it called the 'prolific serial sex offender' sooner [File: Andy Rain/EPA]

A British officer has admitted to dozens of sexual assaults over an 18-year period, including 24 counts of rape, years after several police forces were informed of his attacks.

David Carrick, formerly an armed officer in London’s Metropolitan Police force, pleaded guilty on Monday to four charges of rape, false imprisonment and indecent assault before the capital’s Southwark Crown Court.

He had previously admitted to 43 other offences, including 20 counts of rape, at a hearing in December.

The attacks of 12 women took place from 2003 to 2020 when Carrick worked as a response officer and later within the Met Police’s parliamentary and diplomatic command, guarding the UK Parliament, the prime minister’s residence and foreign embassies.

Carrick was suspended from duty upon his arrest in October 2021. Most of his offences took place in Hertfordshire, a county north of London where he lived.

The 48-year-old had come to the attention of police departments, including the Met, on “nine occasions prior to October 2021”, the London police force said in a statement.

Those instances included allegations of rape, domestic violence and harassment from 2000 to 2021, but no charges were brought.

The Met was placed under “special measures” last year after revelations of bullying, racial discrimination and misogyny among some of its officers. That status means more scrutiny for the country’s largest police force, which now has to report to inspectors regularly.

An independent review found in October that the Met needs “radical” reform to respond more effectively to misconduct allegations.

The review was commissioned in 2021 after an officer was sentenced to life in prison for the rape and murder of pedestrian Sarah Everard.

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The Met Police said Carrick was vetted in 2001 when he joined and again in 2017. He passed on both occasions.

Andrea Simon, director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, called the Met an “institution in crisis”.

“That Carrick’s horrific pattern of egregious behaviour was known to the Met, and they failed to take appropriate action, demonstrates just how broken the systems which are supposed to keep the public safe from perpetrators of rape and abuse are,” Simon said in a statement.

“These failings speak more loudly than any of the Met’s promises to tackle violence against women,” she said. “… The police are clearly incapable of identifying perpetrators in their midst, even when they exhibit textbook patterns of predatory behaviour.”

The Met apologised to Carrick’s victims for its failure to detect his crimes sooner and described him as a “prolific serial sex offender” who had abused his position.

“We should have spotted his pattern of abusive behaviour, and because we didn’t, we missed opportunities to remove him from the organisation,” Assistant Commissioner Barbara Gray said.

“He [Carrick] used the fact he was a police officer to control and coerce his victims,” she said. “We know they felt unable to come forward sooner because he told them they would not be believed.”

Carrick will be sentenced at a hearing scheduled to begin on February 6.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies