OPINION - David Carrick conviction: ‘How can women in London ever trust the police now?’

David Carrick has pleaded guilty to 49 offences, including 24 counts of rape, against 12 women between 2003 and 2020 (Hertfordshire Police/PA) (PA Media)
David Carrick has pleaded guilty to 49 offences, including 24 counts of rape, against 12 women between 2003 and 2020 (Hertfordshire Police/PA) (PA Media)

That started well, didn’t it? Barely three weeks into the new year and yet another example of misogyny in the Metropolitan police.

I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to think there isn’t just ‘one bad apple’ in the force, as former commissioner Cressida Dick claimed after the murder of Sarah Everard. It’s almost like there’s a culture of misogyny that has been allowed to flourish, unchecked, and means that David Carrick could get away with committing 49 sex crimes (including 24 rapes) against 12 women for almost 20 years, using his position as a serving officer to help him do so. And they’re just the victims we know about.

In November 2021, a survey by the End Violence Against Women Coalition found that 47 per cent of women had less trust in the police following Sarah’s murder. Today, I’d wager that number is far, far higher. This feels like a dark day for women and the conversations I’m having over WhatsApp and social media have moved on from simply not trusting the Met to an overwhelming feeling that it could actively be a danger to us. How can an institution pledge to protect women and girls through policing, when it can’t even police itself?

“This brings my already shaken confidence in the police down to dangerously low levels,” wrote one woman on Twitter. “I can’t trust the police and have warned my daughter that she should avoid you at all costs,” another tweeted directly to the Met.

It’s shocking (even though, by this stage, we’re no longer surprised) and we have every right to be angry and, frankly, nauseated. We’re justified in being furious that yet another serial abuser of women has turned out to be a man in a police uniform. We should be frothing that he was reported nine times over the years to the Met and three other forces — and nicknamed ‘The Bastard’ by his colleagues — yet nothing was done to stop him. The women who bravely reported him either didn’t formally complain or withdrew their cooperation from any investigation. It doesn’t take a genius to guess why.

Women have every right to be angry and, frankly, nauseated

It’s actually starting to feel as though women are being manipulated by the Met. We’ve been bombarded with sorries. We’ve been allocated chief constables dedicated to keeping us safe and given a plan to apparently solve violence against us, as though it’s a particularly challenging Wordle. But all these apologies and promises, without action, ring hollow. To me, it seems as though The Met knows what the problem is, but simply doesn’t care enough to do much about it. It’s indicative of the culture that from what I have seen runs through much of the force and has been revealed in several reports: to protect their own first and foremost, while hoping we shut up and go away. It’s actually wicked at this point.

When you put all this together with the terrifying statistics around rape convictions — 99 per cent of women don’t get one and you’ll gave to wait well over a year for it get to court — and the fact that 800 currently serving Met officers and staff are being investigated for 1,000 serious sexual and domestic allegations, it’s clear to see why trust in the Met is rock bottom.

My social media feeds are blowing up with anger over the word ‘unprecedented’, used by Met Assistant Commissioner Barbara Gray, who said: “The duration and nature of Carrick’s offending is unprecedented in policing.”

This brings my already shaken confidence in the police down to dangerously low levels

“It is unbelievable to think these offences could have been committed by a serving police officer,” added DCI Iain Moor.

Is it? Could it be that it only seems unprecedented and unbelievable to the police because there’s a culture of not believing victims, not holding its own officers to account and burying its head in the sand until forced, by a case like this, to put out a statement?

For women looking on aghast at this latest Met horror show and the attempts to justify its behaviour, nothing feels unprecedented or unbelievable. But, don’t worry ladies, it’s OK because there might be undercover police in nightclubs to protect us, and we can always flag down a bus.