The Metropolitan Police have come under fire for protecting “one of their own”, as a former officer was jailed for 16 years for a series of rapes.
Ex-Pc Adam Provan’s predatory behaviour dated back to the 1990s, and went unchecked until Lauren Taylor came forward in 2016 to report she had been twice raped by him when she was 16.
Ms Taylor’s report came 11 years after a female police officer had complained she was stalked and harassed by Provan, which resulted in words of warning.
In 2019 the officer reported to the police that he had also raped her six times between 2003 to 2005.
Following a trial at Wood Green Crown Court, Provan, 44, from Newmarket in Suffolk, was found guilty of a total of eight rapes against the two women and jailed for 16 years with a further eight years on extended licence.
Sentencing on Tuesday, Judge Noel Lucas KC told Provan: “I find it highly troubling that (the female officer’s) colleagues in the Metropolitan Police in 2004/05 were more concerned about looking out for ‘one of their own’ than in taking her seriously and investigating her complaints about you.
“Had they done so, it may be that Ms Taylor would have been spared the ordeal she has had to go through.”
Speaking outside Scotland Yard, Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe said: “We heard in evidence that when one victim, a serving Met officer, reported allegations against Provan in 2005 these were not taken seriously.
“She therefore did not have the confidence to report she had been raped by him.
“We are sincerely sorry this was her experience and that she was let down by a system she trusted and was serving.”
Scotland Yard announced a review of Provan’s full history while at the force and before he joined, to see whether action could have been taken sooner.
The force also said it was working to identify any more potential victims and encouraged anyone with information to come forward.
Prosecutors had described Provan as a “Jekyll and Hyde” character who was obsessed with young women, viewed teenage pornography and had the details of 751 women on his phone.
Another female officer complained in 2005 that Provan sent her “nuisance” messages, but nothing was done and the issue was dealt with “informally”, the court was told.
He also allegedly contacted a 16-year-old girl after she gave her details as a witness in 2003.
Two other women made allegations, but a rape case was not proceeded with and a sexual assault case ended in acquittal.
In 2016 Ms Taylor came forward to say Provan raped her on a blind date when she was teenager in 2010.
Instead, Provan, then 31, took her to woods, where he had sex with her even though she repeatedly told him no.
Afterwards he acted as if nothing had happened and took Ms Taylor to a McDonald’s for a milkshake before forcing her to engage in a sex act in a children’s playground.
All the offences were committed while Provan was a serving officer in the Met’s East Area Command Unit.
His first trial for the double rape of Ms Taylor ended in a hung jury but he was convicted in 2018 and jailed for nine years. The next year, he was dismissed from the Metropolitan Police.
He served three years and three months in prison – only to be released on bail after the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial.
At the fresh trial Ms Taylor gave evidence for a third time and six more charges of rape, relating to Provan’s earlier attacks on the female officer, were added.
Following his conviction in June, Ms Taylor said: “No amount of justice will make me forget the date from hell.
“Even though I tried my best to block it out I will never forget how scared I was when the assault took place, and 13 years later reliving my worst nightmare.”
The second victim, who has not waived her lifelong right to anonymity, told the court Provan regarded himself as “untouchable” and bragged about being a “trained killer”.
She told the court she feared he would kill her and accused the Met of failing to protect her and deal with him sooner.
Judge Lucas paid tribute to the women’s bravery and told the officer that the treatment she received from the Met was “abysmal”, adding: “I hope it never happens again. More than abysmal, it’s shocking.”
In his sentencing, Judge Lucas told Provan: “The persistence and seriousness of your offending is clear when set out in these stark terms.
“What is particularly troubling about this case is that at the time of each of the offences you were a serving police officer – someone who members of the public had an entitlement to feel was a person of the very highest trustworthiness.
“By your actions you have brought disgrace on the police force.
“What struck me about Ms Taylor’s description of your behaviour towards her was the same cold blooded and chilling entitlement to sex, and sex in your preferred manner, followed immediately by conduct as if everything was perfectly normal. You exhibited this same behaviour with (the female officer).”
The judge also found Provan to be a dangerous offender and said he struggled to see why he would have the details of 751 females on his phone other than his “fascination bordering on obsession with young women”.
Ms Rolfe said: “Both women have been enormously strong and courageous in giving evidence to the court – incredibly three times for one of the women – and ensuring Provan is now behind bars. I am so sorry for the pain and suffering he has caused them.
“We are examining Provan’s criminal and conduct history in the Met so we can fully understand whether we could have acted sooner to bring him before the courts, or have stopped him joining the police.
“This work is ongoing but we can already see there were key moments where we let women down and did not do all we could to support them. We have told the Independent Office for Police Conduct we are carrying out a review and advised them that we will make appropriate referrals.”
In an interview with the PA news agency Ms Taylor said “I don’t feel like I’ve done anything amazing. I just feel like I’ve done what I needed to do for me.”
Of Provan, she said: “I’m angry at what he’s done to me. I’m angry about who he was. He was a police officer, and we go to them to be protected, and I wasn’t protected.
“And I’m angry for the lack of remorse that he’s shown throughout this whole process.
“The reason why I did the last retrial was because I wanted to make sure that he didn’t go out and harm anyone else.”