The commissioner of the Metropolitan police has predicted that “two to three” officers a week will face trial for crimes such as violence against women and dishonesty, as he said hunting down wrongdoers in the ranks would be long and painful.
Mark Rowley was speaking after the scandal of the Met officer David Carrick, convicted last week of 85 rapes and serious crimes despite repeated reports to the force that he was a potential danger to women.
Sir Mark has vowed to clean up the Met, which has been dogged by scandals, shattering trust in Britain’s biggest force, with an official report finding it had been too lax about bigoted or corrupt officers.
Rowley said the Met was already bracing for its officers regularly appearing before the courts for months – if not years – to come: “Most weeks there are two or three officers going to court for criminal cases, which tends to be a mix of dishonesty, violence against women and girls – domestic abuse and sexual offences.”
Later Rowley said: “We’re going to see a lot happening in the forthcoming months.”
He added that new reports of allegations against officers were coming in and if they went to trial before a jury, it could take until 2025 until verdicts were reached.
Rowley, who was appearing before the London assembly’s police and crime committee, has previously said the Met may have hundreds of officers who should have been rooted out. Other informed sources fear the number could be higher.
As part of urgent reforms, a hotline for the public is understood to be receiving up to 40 calls a week. Rowley said a third were about officers at other forces but, nonetheless, some calls were leading to fresh investigations.
Rowley predicted more pain for the Met. He said: “Lifting the stone and revealing painful truths will not be resolved overnight, and I mustn’t pretend it will do, and I hope you understand that that can’t be done. We have to prepare for more painful stories as we confront the issues that we face.
“The systemic failings that create these problems of these officers who corrupt our integrity, and as we put in more resource, more assertive tactics, as we are more open to people reporting incidents to us from within and from without the organisation, and as we more determinedly take on these cases, it will tackle the problems that we face but … it won’t be rapid and it will be painful.”
Rowley also apologised for the case of a Met safer schools constable, Hussain Chehab, who pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a girl aged 13-15, committed before he joined the police, and to offences related to indecent images of children that he committed while in the force. He also admitted engaging in sexual communication with a child, known as grooming.
The Met said there was no evidence to link any of Chehab’s offending with his school role.
Rowley said: “The sexual contact offences took place before he joined the police but, sadly, they weren’t known. And then, whilst he was in the police, he was taking part in what you might broadly describe as grooming activity.
“It is ghastly and obviously you apologise to the victims, they shouldn’t be facing that at the hands of a police officer.”
Rowley, commissioner since September, said strengthened anti-corruption measures had found no evidence that freemasonry played any role in shielding corrupt officers.
The Met has been performing so poorly that the policing inspectorate last year placed it in special measures – known officially as “engage”. Rowley declined to put a date on when the force would come out of the measures, having been judged to have improved, but said the Met was improving.