• December 6, 2023
 Police officer admits to 49 offences against women over 18-year reign of terror

Police officer admits to 49 offences against women over 18-year reign of terror

Metropolitan Police officer David Carrick has pleaded guilty to a total of 49 offences against 12 women over an 18-year period.

His offences include 24 counts of rape and multiple counts of sexual assault against 12 separate women, most of which took place in Hertfordshire.

Carrick’s offending is “unprecedented in policing” according to Assistant Commissioner Barbara Gray, the Metropolitan Police’s lead for professionalism:

“We should have spotted his pattern of abusive behaviour and because we didn’t, we missed opportunities to remove him from the organisation.

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.”

The Metropolitan Police subsequently confirmed that they are investigating 1,000 sexual and domestic abuse allegations against 800 of its officers, with 45,000 officers and staff set to be rechecked for previously missed offending.

Ruth Davison, Refuge Chief Executive, described the news as “barbarous”, adding that it will “terrify women and girls up and down the country”. Davison’s full response is below.



The police are supposed to be our first line of defence, they are supposed to protect us from violent crime, they are supposed to hold perpetrators to account. Instead, the people who commit violent crimes against women are able to hold positions of power within the force and use their authority and status to abuse and harm, seemingly with impunity.

For too long, we have heard that things will change, that lessons are being learned, that mistakes will not be allowed to happen again. There has been enquiry after enquiry, promise after promise. But I see little evidence of any change today, and I ask myself what has to happen before crimes against women and girls are taken seriously? Last year, the government agreed to make violence against women and girls a strategic policing priority, yet here we are again, learning about the numerous violent crimes committed by a man whose job it was to protect the public. As he stood in the dock today, David Carrick remained a servicing police officer. One who had been authorised to carry firearms.

We cannot continue to be told that these are isolated incidents, that this is “one bad apple”. Last month, the director general of the IOPC stood down after serious allegations were made against him. If the office responsible for investigating police misconduct is having to investigate its own director for allegations of crimes committed against a woman, then how can anyone have any faith in its ability to regulate against misconduct across the wider force?

Time and again across the VAWG sector we have called for more training, for more investment, for the police to work with specialist frontline organisations like Refuge, so they can better understand the dynamics of domestic abuse and so that officers can better understand the patterns of behaviours that perpetrators display. How can you prevent something you do not understand?

In this particular case, David Carrick was first reported to the police in 2001, before he even joined the force. He should never have passed intake vetting. There then followed a series of other complaints against him, including further incidents of domestic abuse. Sadly, as the CEO of the country’s largest specialist domestic abuse provider, it comes as no surprise to me that these incidents were dismissed as “non-crimes” and no action was taken. The first chances to stop this serial abuser were missed. If domestic abuse had been recognised and treated as the serious crime it is, how many of his later crimes could have been prevented?

Numerous other reports and complaints were made. Every single one of them should have raised the alarm. But none of them were taken seriously and no action was taken. Carrick was able to continue in post and was later issued with a licence to carry a firearm. Over the course of almost two decades, more and more brave women came forward to report crimes they allege were committed against them by Carrick. Those women were let down by the police and Carrick went on to abuse and harm more and more women in ways which I cannot begin to comprehend.

What happens next must change the culture of policing for good. A force which breeds a culture of violent misogyny is not a force which can even begin to protect women and girls. Unless radical change to the way the policing system works across the country happens immediately, then women and girls will remain unsafe, and they will not have the confidence to come forward and report the violent crimes committed against them. Violence against women and girls has reached epidemic levels, and if the police cannot protect us from harm, then we must demand that they change the way in which they police violent men.

If you need support, Refuge is here for you. You can contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0808 2000 247, or via www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk. You are not alone.

Jamie Lennox, Editor, Today's Family Lawyer

Editor of Today's Conveyancer, Today's Wills and Probate, and Today's Family Lawyer


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