The Metropolitan Police Commissioner has admitted “horrific” failures by the force and apologised to victims after an elite armed officer was revealed as one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders.
Pc David Carrick, 48, attacked at least a dozen women over an 18-year period throughout his career with the Met, using his position to gain their trust and scare them into staying silent.
He had come to the attention of police over nine incidents – including allegations of rape, domestic violence and harassment between 2000 and 2021 – but faced no criminal sanctions or misconduct findings.
Sir Mark Rowley apologised to the victims – some of whom were subjected to multiple rapes and humiliating abuse, including being locked in an under-stair cupboard – over missed opportunities to root Carrick out.
“We’ve let women and girls down, and indeed we’ve let Londoners down,” he said.
“I do understand also that this will lead to some women across London questioning whether they can trust the Met to keep them safe.
“We have failed. And I’m sorry. He should not have been a police officer.”
Carrick was accused of two offences against a former partner the year before he passed vetting to join the Met in 2001, and faced further assault and harassment claims against an ex-girlfriend in 2002 while still in his probationary period.
He had five public complaints to his name but still passed checks to become a firearms officer when he transferred to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command in 2009 and was re-vetted in 2017.
The force admitted Carrick was known as “Bastard Dave” by colleagues because he was “mean and cruel”, but said it was not to do with any sexual behaviour and colleagues had made no complaints about him.
Carrick was arrested for rape by Hertfordshire Constabulary in July 2021 and placed on restricted duties.
He was cleared to return to work when the allegation was dropped, but never returned to full duties because he was suspended after being arrested over a second rape complaint in October 2021.
The woman came forward as a result of the publicity after Wayne Couzens, 48, was handed a whole life sentence for the kidnap, rape and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard.
The complainant said she and Carrick went for drinks in a pub in September 2020 after they met on dating app Tinder, and she claimed he showed her his warrant card and boasted of meeting famous people in the course of his work, including then-prime minister Boris Johnson.
The rape allegation and subsequent publicity sparked a wave of complaints, and although that charge against Carrick was dropped after he pleaded not guilty, he admitted 49 offences relating to another 12 women between 2003 and 2020. They are:
– 24 counts of rape
– nine counts of sexual assault
– five counts of assault by penetration
– three counts of coercive and controlling behaviour
– three counts of false imprisonment
– two counts of attempted rape
– one count of attempted sexual assault by penetration
– one count of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent
– one count of indecent assault
Carrick, from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to 43 charges at the Old Bailey in December and the final six at Southwark Crown Court on Monday.
They include 24 counts of rape against nine women, but some of the charges are multiple incident counts, meaning they relate to at least 48 rapes.
Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb remanded Carrick in custody ahead of sentencing over two days from February 6.
The case is the latest in a string of damaging scandals for the Met, including Ms Everard’s murder, offensive messages exchanged by a team at Charing Cross, and the strip-search of a teenage girl at school while she was menstruating.
Dame Cressida Dick stepped down as commissioner after criticism over the controversies last year and the latest revelations are a major setback for her successor Sir Mark’s attempts to clean up the reputation of the force.
Dame Louise Casey, who is already carrying out a review of the culture in the Met, called for a full inquiry into the Carrick case and said she would carry out the work herself if necessary.
Sir Mark said: “We failed in two respects. We failed as investigators, where we should have been more intrusive and joined the dots on this repeated misogyny over a couple of decades.
“And, as leaders, our mindset should have been more determined to root out such a misogynist.
“These failures are horrific examples of the systemic failures that concern me and were highlighted by Baroness Casey in her recent review.
“I do know an apology doesn’t go far enough, but I do think it’s important to acknowledge our failings and for me to say I’m sorry.
“I apologise to all of David Carrick’s victims. I also want to say sorry to all of the women across London who feel we’ve let them down.”
Labour former cabinet minister Harriet Harman, the mother of the House of Commons, criticised the Met’s response as “woefully inadequate”.
She said on Twitter: “Senior officers who kept him in the Met should be fired. We need transparency and accountability.”
The Met said a total of 1,633 cases of alleged sexual offences or domestic violence involving 1,071 officers and staff are being reviewed from the last 10 years to make sure the appropriate decisions were made.
The accusations range from arguments to the most serious sexual crimes including rape.
Downing Street described Carrick’s crimes as “appalling” and said forces must root out bad officers to restore the public’s trust, “which has been shattered by high-profile events such as this”.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman described the case “a sobering moment” for the Met and “the reputation of British policing as a whole”, adding: “I have been clear that culture and standards in the police need to change.”
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the case “is further evidence of appalling failures in the police vetting and misconduct processes, still not addressed by Government, that he was ever able to serve as a police officer”.
She added: “Everyone who demanded change will feel badly let down today.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “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.”
Detective Chief Inspector Iain Moor, from Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, said the “sheer number of offences” showed Carrick’s “prolific and callous nature”.
Hertfordshire Constabulary have set up an online portal for other victims now expected to come forward with further allegations against Carrick.