Police officers keep jobs over serial rapist David Carrick investigation failure

Handout photo issued by Hertfordshire Police of David Carrick
-Credit: (Image: PA Media)


Two police officers who failed to adequately investigate an allegation of abuse by serial rapist David Carrick five years before the former constable was first arrested have been given final written warnings for misconduct. David Tippetts, who was a police sergeant at the time and is now an inspector, and Pc Emma Fisher faced a disciplinary hearing following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

The investigation began in July last year following a referral from Wiltshire Police. The force had reviewed its systems after Carrick's conviction and found a report from 2016 that had appeared not to have been investigated appropriately.

A woman called Wiltshire Police in January 2016 to report that Carrick had abused another female. She wanted Carrick, a serving Metropolitan Police Service officer, investigated. Pc Fisher was assigned to investigate the matter and after speaking in person to the woman who made the report, Pc Fisher requested the case be closed and her supervisor, Sgt Tippetts, agreed.

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The IOPC said Pc Fisher updated the force's computer system saying the woman said the matter had been investigated some time earlier. In fact, it had not been investigated and no record of a previous investigation could be found on Wiltshire's systems.

Neither officer checked police systems nor took any further steps to investigate the matter. The female who was identified as being the victim of the abuse was never contacted about the allegation.

If the officers had searched for David Carrick's name on Wiltshire Police's crime recording system they would have found he was under investigation in an unrelated case for offences against another woman, which had been reported to Wiltshire three days earlier.

Despite being told that Carrick was a serving Met Police officer, the officers did not notify the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards of the serious allegation made against him, nor did they seek advice from their own Professional Standards Department about next steps.

IOPC investigators sought the opinion of a senior detective in Wiltshire Police who had no knowledge of this case and they said there would have been an expectation that these actions would have been completed.

They said CID would have been informed of the allegation, so detectives could re-visit the woman who made the allegation and also contact the alleged victim to understand if they wished to assist an investigation.

In February 2023, Carrick was sentenced to a minimum term of 30 years in prison for 49 violent and sexual offences, including 24 counts of rape. IOPC regional director Mel Palmer said: "No one is to blame for David Carrick's horrific spate of offending but him."

"However, our investigation found there was a missed opportunity by Wiltshire Police officers to investigate him following a report of a serious abuse allegation made years before he was eventually arrested."

"Pc Fisher took minimal investigative action. She didn't try to contact the victim of the reported crime, flag to the Met a serious allegation against one of its officers, or search David Carrick's name on Wiltshire Police's systems."

"This would have shown that Carrick was already under investigation following another a report of a serious offence three days earlier."

"Pc Fisher requested the investigation be closed following minimal work or effort, and her supervisor, Sgt Tippetts, agreed and contrary to the force's policy failed to flag any concerns to colleagues in CID who specialise in investigating serious allegations." Both officers faced a gross misconduct hearing for potentially breaching the police standards of professional behaviour.

The panel determined that both officers had breached the standards of behaviour relating to duties and responsibilities and discreditable conduct and that their actions amounted to misconduct. They imposed final written warnings on both officers, which will last for two years.

Wiltshire Police deputy chief constable Craig Dibdin said: "This is a clear case of officers failing, in the most basic sense, to properly investigate allegations made to them."

"This failure in service was compounded by a lack of proper oversight and scrutiny by a supervisor. Whilst it would be inappropriate to comment on the ongoing IOPC investigation, clearly the public will have questions as to the impact this inaction might have had on Carrick's vile offending after 2016."

"Our communities must have the trust and confidence in us to listen to them, investigate any allegation made to us without fear or favour and keep them fully updated as to the actions we are undertaking."

"I would like to apologise unreservedly to the person whose report we did not initially investigate as we should. We will ensure that, organisationally, we will share all the learning emanating from this case to improve the service we provide."

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