On Monday, Metropolitan police officer David Carrick pleaded guilty to 49 offences including rape and sexual assault. Over 20 years, the Met had nine opportunities to stop him. Why didn’t it?
Today, David Carrick is one of the worst sex offenders in modern history who committed his crimes whilst serving as a Metropolitan Police officer.
Wayne Couzens kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard whilst also serving as a Metropolitan Police officer.
Can London’s police force ever repair the damage to its reputation and regain the trust of the public?
“This is a man who relentlessly degraded, belittled, sexually assaulted and raped women”Jaswant Narwal, Chief Crown Prosecutor
This is Jaswant Narwal, a Chief Crown Prosecutor, speaking outside Southwark Crown Court.
“As time went on the severity of his offending intensified as he became emboldened thinking he would get away with it.”Jaswant Narwal, Chief Crown Prosecutor
She’s talking about David Carrick.
“The scale of the degradation Carrick subjected his victims to is unlike anything I’ve encountered in my 34 years with a Crown Prosecution Service.”Jaswant Narwal, Chief Crown Prosecutor
The similarities between him and Wayne Couzens are striking. They were Metropolitan police officers when they committed their crimes and they both worked for the same unit.
Wayne Couzens was nicknamed “the rapist” by his colleagues because he made women feel uncomfortable.
David Carrick was nicknamed “Bastard Dave” by his fellow officers because he had a reputation for being mean and cruel.
Since 2000, he’d been repeatedly reported to the Met and three other police forces for criminal and predatory behaviour against women.
Despite those allegations though, David Carrick was allowed to continue working, and was revetted in 2017.
But on Monday, 20 years after his first known offence, he pleaded guilty to 49 offences.
“Today PC Garrick pleaded guilty to 24 rapes and as many other crimes against women, 12 different women, including attempted rape, sexual assault and possessing a gun to cause fear… … the Metropolitan had nine opportunities to stop him, and didn’t.”ITV News
That failure to deal with him sooner is ultimately why the Met has so many questions to answer, because again, the same was true with Wayne Couzens. Police missed opportunities to stop him.
So how did the police eventually catch up with another one of their own?
In October 2021 – a woman told Hertfordshire police that David Carrick had flashed his police warrant card – to reassure her, before attacking and raping her in a St Albans hotel.
The abuse of his power is similar to how Wayne Couzens first approached Sarah Everard.
“PC Wayne Couzens was caught on camera showing something to Sarah Everard, presumed to be his warrant card.”Channel 4 News
The woman in this case came forward almost immediately after Wayne Couzens was handed a life sentence for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard.
That’s what led to David Carrick being arrested and suspended from duty. And it also led to other women coming forward.
The first known attack happened in 2003. He imprisoned her and subjected her to an indecent assault.
A string of other offences against multiple victims followed, the majority of whom had met David Carrick on dating apps or at social clubs.
“PC David Carrick repeatedly humiliated his victims, locking women in the under stairs cupboard of his Hertfordshire home, or forcing them to clean his house naked.”ITV News
Now he’s admitted charges relating to 12 women, so why did he get away with it for so long?
“I’m sorry and I know we’ve let, we’ve let women down…”Mark Rowley, Metropolitan Police Commissioner
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley has said the force will crack down on offenders within its ranks.
“I mean I think we failed over two decades to be as ruthless as we ought to be regarding our own integrity, we haven’t been as intrusive as we should be joining the dots on cases to spot problematic officers.”Mark Rowley, Metropolitan Police Commissioner
A review of 1,000 Met officers who have been accused of domestic violence or sex offences, including rape, is now underway.
And the Home Office has asked all police forces to check staff against a national database to identify if anyone slipped through the net.
But Home Secretary Suella Braverman has been criticised for her response to the David Carrick case.
“Well it’s clear that today is a sobering day for the Met Police Service and indeed for the whole policing family throughout the country. This appalling incident represents a breach of trust, it will affect people’s confidence in the police, and it’s clear that standards and culture need to change.”Suella Braverman, Home Secretary
Several Conservative MPs have demanded more measures to tackle misogyny in the police, while Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has criticised the lack of leadership from the government.
“After the truly appalling murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer, Home Office ministers promised change. The then Home Secretary promised to set up processes that would prevent this happening again. That has badly failed. There are still no legal requirements on vetting, forces can effectively do what they want, they don’t even have to check employment history and character references and some don’t. They don’t even have to interview people beforehand.”Yvette Cooper, Shadow Home Secretary speaking in the Houses of Parliament
Not only does the police’s poor vetting process allow predatory people to become police officers, there are also concerns about how difficult it is to sack racist, sexist or failing staff.
Mark Rowley says he came back into policing to overhaul the Met. He’s pledged to rid the force of predators, and believes recommendations from an independent review will be radical.
“Baroness Louise Casey is looking systematically at our culture and standards and doing an independent review. She has already done an interim report on our handling of standards issues and the Carrick case is a tragic illustration of the findings she found, but she’s going to look more systematically and widely and I’m sure her recommendations will be radical and powerful and I’m completely up for that.”Mark Rowley, Metropolitan Police Commissioner speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme
Louise Casey is known for shining a light on institutions and revealing uncomfortable truths, but the job of restoring trust in the police has just got much harder.
This episode was written and mixed by Imy Harper.