A British police officer who admitted being a serial rapist was formally sacked on Tuesday, as the government called on forces across the country to root out the criminal and corrupt in their ranks.
David Carrick's guilty plea to 24 counts of rape against 12 women and a string of other sex offences over two decades has caused widespread shock, undermining public faith in the police.
It has also piled pressure on his force, the Metropolitan Police in London, that is already reeling from the kidnap, rape and murder of a young women by another of its officers two years ago.
A day after Carrick's admission, Met Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe said his case was "sickening and horrific" and had "far-reaching consequences" for policing.
"I truly hope to never see its like again," she told an internal disciplinary hearing.
Carrick, 48, had been suspended from his job in an armed unit protecting MPs and foreign diplomats since the allegations came to light in late 2021.
Police misconduct hearings are typically held after the conclusion of criminal proceedings against an officer.
But Carrick's was fast-tracked after his guilty pleas and, unusually, opened to the media given the unprecedented nature of his crimes.
Lawyer Hywel Jenkins, representing Met Police Commissioner Mark Rowley, called Carrick's crimes "heinous, targeted and deliberate".
They have had a "catastrophic" impact on his victims and their families, while also undermining confidence in the police service, he added.
"The public of Greater London expect police officers to uphold the law and protect women from violence," said Rolfe.
"PC (police constable) Carrick did the opposite."
Carrick, a former soldier who did not attend the hearing and had no legal representation, was sacked for gross misconduct.
He will be sentenced in court over two days from February 6.
- Public trust -
Public trust in the Met had already suffered from the conviction of Wayne Couzens, who served in the same unit as Carrick, for killing Sarah Everard as she walked home in south London in March 2021.
Couzens, who is serving a whole-life sentence, falsely claimed she had broken coronavirus lockdown rules to snatch her off the streets.
But in both cases, police vetting procedures that could have identified their offending earlier were found wanting.
No action was taken either against Couzens over allegations in 2015 that he exposed himself or Carrick, who had a string of claims against him.
Two official reports into the Met and other forces in England and Wales concluded background checks were lax and there was a culture of impunity.
Since starting as Britain's most senior police officer last September, Rowley has pledged to "go after the racists and misogynists who are undermining us".
That has led to a wave of disciplinary action against officers, and in some cases criminal proceedings for misconduct in a public office.
More than 1,600 claims of sex offences and domestic violence against just over 1,000 Met Police officers and staff are currently under review.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman, whose brief includes policing, called Carrick's crimes "a dark day for policing and the Metropolitan Police".
"For anyone to have gone through such torment is harrowing but for it to happen at the hands of someone they entrusted to keep people safe is almost beyond comprehension," she told MPs.
How criminality can be stamped out of police forces was the subject of a government-commissioned review, she said.
Braverman met Rowley on Monday and said she was "encouraged" by the action taken by the Met so far to root out corrupt officers not fit to serve, to restore public trust.
But she said it was vital for the Met and other forces to redouble their efforts. "This may mean more shocking cases come to light in the short term," she added.