Scotland Yard failed to throw out David Carrick despite nine incidents, including allegations of rape, domestic violence and harassment, coming to police attention over two decades.
The 48-year-old Metropolitan Police constable faced no criminal sanctions or misconduct findings over the incidents between 2000 and 2021 – eight of which involved alleged women victims.
He passed vetting procedures to join the Met in 2001 despite allegations of malicious communications and burglary against an ex-partner the previous year.
Carrick was accused of harassment and assault against a former partner while still in his probationary period in 2002 but the matter was not referred to the Directorate of Professional Standards.
He was the subject of five complaints from members of the public between 2002 and 2008, including rudeness, incivility and the use of force, with two of the incidents dealt with by management action.
Carrick passed checks to become a firearms officer in 2009 despite at least one further domestic incident involving the Met in 2004 and was re-vetted in 2017 – the same year he was spoken to by Thames Valley Police officers after being thrown out of a Reading nightclub while drunk.
By then he had also been the suspect in a 2016 Hampshire Police investigation following an allegation of harassment but he was not arrested.
The Pc was given “words of advice” after being accused of grabbing a woman by the neck during a domestic incident investigated by Hertfordshire Constabulary in 2019 over informing his chain of command about off-duty incidents but found to have no misconduct case to answer.
He was placed on restricted duties after he was arrested on suspicion of rape in July 2021 but the restrictions were lifted after the criminal probe was dropped in September.
Carrick has now admitted two charges of rape, two of sexual assault and one count of controlling and coercive behaviour in relation to the woman.
However, Carrick never returned to full duties because he was arrested over another rape allegation in October after another woman came forward.
The investigation prompted another dozen women to make allegations against Carrick, many of whom said they had been scared to speak out because of his position.
No police colleagues ever complained about Carrick’s behaviour but following his arrest some officers confirmed he was known as “the bastard” or “Bastard Dave” because he was “mean and cruel”.
Assistant Commissioner Barbara Gray, the Met’s lead for professionalism, said Carrick’s offending was “unprecedented in policing” and apologised to his victims for failing to remove him from the force.
“We should have spotted his pattern of abusive behaviour and because we didn’t, we missed opportunities to remove him from the organisation,” she said.
“We are truly sorry that being able to continue to use his role as a police officer may have prolonged the suffering of his victims.”
She added: “What we are responsible for, and I truly apologise for, is that we have failed to identify the abusive behaviours that he has conducted over a long, long period of time.
“We are truly sorry that he was not identified earlier, that victims felt that they couldn’t come forward earlier, and we have to bear that responsibility that he continued then to use his position as a police officer to exploit and manipulate and carry out his predatory behaviours.”
The Met said the force is confident Carrick would not have passed vetting procures to join the force today and said in 2009, when he joined what is now the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, previous incidents resulting in criminal or misconduct action were not necessarily taken into consideration.
The force admitted sufficient intelligence checks were not carried out when he was re-vetted in 2017 and that Carrick was not vetted again after he was arrested for rape in July 2021.
The only time there is evidence that a full review was carried out was when he was arrested in October 2021.
Sal Naseem, from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), said: “We have, however, written to the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) regarding its assessment of a 2002 incident – allegations of assault and harassment – which was brought to the force’s attention at the time Pc Carrick was a probationer and dealt with by words of advice.
“The conduct of the officers whose decision it was to deal with those allegations in this manner may have amounted to misconduct.
“The matter has not been referred but, given the two officers have retired and so cannot now face a sanction at misconduct level, we have decided it is not in the public interest to take any further action.”
The case is the latest in a string of damaging scandals for the Met, including 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 last year after facing criticism over the controversies and the case will be seen as a major setback for her successor Sir Mark Rowley’s attempts to clean up the reputation of the force.
A review has identified around 1,000 current officers and staff who have previously been the subject of allegations of sexual offences, including rape or domestic abuse, which could not be proven or subject to misconduct proceedings.
Ms Gray said: “It’s a devastating impact that he has had on other women and girls across London, because we’re working so hard to gain their trust and our colleagues are devastated when they are working 24/7 seeking to protect victims at all times.”
Of the review, a Met spokesman said: “As part of our continuing commitment to reform and delivering the highest level of professional standards, we are reviewing the details of any allegations of domestic abuse or sexual offences from the past 10 years where a Met officer or member of staff was involved and the allegation/resulting case has been finalised.
“This will include a very wide range of allegations from verbal arguments and altercations in a domestic or family setting to the most serious sexual offences. It could include cases where no further action was taken and where no criminal allegations were made.”