Today (16th January, 2023) serving Met Police officer David Carrick has pled guilty to more than 80 sexual offences spanning almost 20 years.
In a statement, Andrea Simon, Director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW), said:
“This is an institution in crisis. That Carrick’s horrific pattern of egregious behaviour was known to the Met, and they failed to take appropriate action, demonstrates just how broken the systems which are supposed to keep the public safe from perpetrators of rape and abuse are. These failings speak more loudly than any of the Met’s promises to tackle violence against women. We stand in solidarity with the victims and all survivors who may find the details of his abuse distressing and re-traumatising.
This case is a horrendous example of police failures and their complete lack of oversight and accountability. The police are clearly incapable of identifying perpetrators in their midst, even when they exhibit textbook patterns of predatory behaviour. The catalogue of missed opportunities include when vetting him as a new officer who had already been reported to the police, as well as the non-criming and lack of investigation into reports of domestic abuse and other misconduct. It is abundantly clear that an officer whose behaviour gave him the nickname ‘Dave the bastard’ among colleagues, should not have been in the force in the first place.
While Carrick’s actions are appalling, bringing him to justice is merely the beginning of what we need to see. This isn’t just about individual ‘bad apples’ – it’s about police leaders taking responsibility for transforming a culture that normalises and condones misogyny and racism, and enables officers to abuse their power with impunity.
Police officers hold a particular position of power and authority over the public and as such must be held to the very highest standards of accountability and public scrutiny. Yet we see an institution that isn’t addressing the most serious sexual offending within its own ranks.
Even when officers are reported for sexual misconduct they often evade disciplinary action and remain in their jobs. The police are failing to look at patterns of behaviour, meaning repeat perpetrators slip through the net or can get away with a slap on the wrist. It is imperative that forces do not sit by and wait for victims or witnesses to report – they must take proactive steps to prevent police officers abusing their positions for sexual purposes, which is shockingly the largest form of corruption in UK policing.
Today’s reports are another bleak day for women’s trust and confidence in policing. For women to have the trust and confidence to report violence and abuse to the police, we have to know that the institution doesn’t harbour perpetrators and takes every step to root out individuals who don’t belong in the police service. Right now the police are not doing enough to convince us that they are tackling police officers accused of abuse effectively or rooting out cultures of misogyny and racism. The vetting of new officers entering the force can only go so far to drive change – this is a problem affecting current and longstanding officers at all ranks and levels. A response must go far beyond anti-corruption work and transform the entire institution root and branch.
We are appalled that Carrick used his status as an officer to access and coerce his victims, and that a culture of impunity gave him the confidence to abuse women in such a depraved way. We expect the Home Secretary to answer for these heinous and repeated police failings. However, the government is instead committed to handing over ever more powers to the police in the form of the Public Order Bill, despite an onslaught of allegations and slew of findings about police-perpetrated violence against women and girls. It is unthinkable that at the same time they are also considering plans to remove the Human Rights Act, when this is the only legal tool victims and survivors have to hold the police to account. We urge the government to think again and prioritise the transformation of the criminal justice system’s response to men’s violence against women.”
Sinead Geoghegan, Communications Manager, email@example.com 07960 744 502