Police chiefs to check all officers against national database by end of March after David Carrick case

Police chiefs across England and Wales have been asked to check all officers against national databases by the end of March.

The National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) said its chair, Martin Hewitt, wrote to all chief constables on Friday, asking them to take "immediate action" and complete the checks by 31 March.

The Home Office ordered the checks after former Metropolitan Police officer David Carrick was revealed to be one of Britain's most prolific sex offenders after he admitted 49 criminal charges, including 24 counts of rape.

Forces are expected to have identified all cases for further investigation by September - with inquiries to be prioritised based on the threat and risk identified.

More than 1,000 Metropolitan Police officers and staff who have previously been accused of domestic abuse or sexual offences are having their cases reviewed and on Friday 1,071 rotten apples were pictured outside Scotland Yard offices to reflect the number of cases being investigated.

The NPCC said the final stage of the process will be to develop a new automated platform to carry out continuous national police database checks.

Mr Hewitt said: "The confidence of women and girls in the police has been damaged further by the horrific and abhorrent details revealed in the David Carrick case.

"They deserve better, and they deserve to have absolute trust in any officer they may deal with in their time of need.

"Words will not rebuild confidence, only action and the public seeing the results of that action.

"Checks of all officers and staff will ensure we are turning over every stone in our efforts to rid policing of abusers and corrupt individuals.

"I know the dedicated, professional majority in policing will support this action.

"Building on work by the NPCC over recent months, we have asked the Home Office to work with us to develop technology so forces can carry out regular automated checks, giving our professional standards teams another fast-time feed of intelligence, helping them to quickly spot and act on concerns."

Read more:
Two retired Met Police officers charged over child sex abuse images
Met boss determined to clean up - but culture can't easily be changed
Timeline of missed opportunities to stop Carrick

The Home Office has also launched a review of the police disciplinary system to make sure officers who "are not fit to serve the public" and "fall short of the high standards expected of them" can be sacked.

More than 1,000 Metropolitan Police officers and staff who have previously been accused of domestic abuse or sexual offences are having their cases reviewed.

More than 1,000 rotten apples habeen left outside New Scotland Yard in a protest against the number of Metropolitan Police officers linked to violence against women and girls.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak previously promised reforms to make sure rogue police officers have "no place to hide" following the abuse of power by serial sex offender Carrick.

He told MPs the police "must address the failings in this case, restore public confidence and ensure the safety of women and girls".