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Domestic abuse charity dumps rotten apples outside Scotland Yard in protest

A domestic abuse charity has dumped 1,071 rotten apples outside Scotland Yard in a protest against the Metropolitan Police’s record on rooting out sexual abuse.

Refuge said each apple represented a serving Met officer who is currently being – or has previously been – investigated for allegations of domestic abuse or violence against women.

Ruth Davison, the charity’s chief executive, said the force’s issues went deeper than just “one bad apple” after David Carrick pleaded guilty to 49 sex offence charges and was sacked from the force this week.

She said: “This is a systemic problem across policing. How have these perpetrators of abuse been allowed to enter and remain in positions of power for so long?

Refuge chief executive Ruth Davison helps place 1,071 rotten apples outside New Scotland Yard, reflecting the number of Metropolitan Police officers who have been, or are currently, under investigation for allegations of domestic abuse or violence against women and girls
Refuge chief executive Ruth Davison helps place 1,071 rotten apples outside New Scotland Yard (Aaron Chown/PA)

“What happens next must change the culture of policing for good. A force which breeds violent misogyny is not a force which can even begin to protect women and girls.

“Unless radical change to the way the policing system works across the country happens immediately, then women and girls will remain unsafe, and they will not have the confidence to come forward and report the violent crimes committed against them.”

The Met is reviewing 1,633 historical cases ranging from alleged domestic abuse to sexual offences against 1,071 of its officers and staff to check whether the action taken was “sufficient”.

Carrick was officially sacked on Tuesday after admitting a litany of sexual offences dating back almost 20 years, including 24 counts of rape.

He had faced complaints about his behaviour before joining the force in 2001, then again as a probationer in 2002 and several times throughout his policing career until 2021.

Carrick was not suspended from duty until he was arrested in October 2021 but the Met continued to pay his salary until December last year when he admitted the majority of the charges against him.

Police chiefs across England and Wales have been asked to review the backgrounds of every one of their officers by the end of March.

Rotten apples outside New Scotland Yard
Rotten apples outside New Scotland Yard (Aaron Chown/PA)

Refuge runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, the gateway for specialist support across Britain.

This week it sent an open letter to Home Secretary Suella Braverman demanding changes to the policing system to protect women and girls.

The charity says more than one in four women in England and Wales experience domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime, and two women a week are killed by a current or former partner.