Clamour for inquiry into officers who let David Carrick remain in Met

Former Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman says officers who allowed offender’s career to flourish must be investigated

The Metropolitan police and the government are coming under pressure to punish officers who allowed the serial rapist David Carrick to be shielded from the sack despite multiple warnings about his abuse and violence against women during his two decades in the force.

The demands came as the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), confirmed it had no plans to investigate how Carrick went undetected.

The former Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman led calls in the Commons, supported by some Tory MPs, for officers who took no action against Carrick to be sacked.

Harman said officers who had “colluded” in atrocious crimes and enabled Carrick’s career to flourish should be investigated and named by Sir Mark Rowley, the Met’s commissioner.

Carrick pleaded guilty on Monday to 49 charges against 12 women spanning from 2003 to 2020. It made him one of the worst sexual attackers in recent times. The crimes included 48 rapes as well as his locking victims in a tiny cupboard.

He used his status as a Met officer to facilitate his crimes. Carrick was formally sacked by the Met on Tuesday after a special hearing.

Rowley, who is continuing with a reshuffle of his senior team, will launch details of his proposals for reforms for the Met this week.

Meanwhile, 1,633 cases of alleged sexual offences or domestic violence involving 1,071 officers and other staff are being reviewed from the last 10 years to make sure the appropriate decisions were made.

The Met has been criticised for failing to suspend Carrick in July 2021 when he faced a rape allegation and was arrested. The woman withdrew her cooperation from the Hertfordshire police inquiry but was part of the case that saw the firearms officer convicted, with Carrick admitting attacks on her.

Harriet Harman in the Commons on Tuesday
Harriet Harman called for action from the Met to root out officers responsible for Carrick’s continued service. Photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA

His serial offending was committed while he was a serving Met officer, and in 2009 he was promoted from being a local officer to the elite parliamentary and diplomatic protection command and given a gun.

A Met spokesperson said: “No notices have been issued against any individual and there are no investigations into any officers or staff.”

The IOPC said it was not planning an investigation into the failings that could lead to disciplinary action being taken. It said it had been sent information about incidents involving complaints against Carrick, but saw no indication of wrongdoing by individual officers.

“We also received information from the MPS [Metropolitan police service], identified in its review, relating to three other incidents in 2004, 2019 and 2021, involving allegations against Carrick. From the information we’ve been provided with so far, we have had no cause to consider using our power of initiative to call these matters in.”

One source with knowledge of the decision-making that led to Carrick being placed on restricted duties after the July 2021 rape claim, said that not suspending him was in keeping with force policy, and that a senior officer was informed. It was thought that by taking his gun, any risk he posed could be mitigated, the source claimed.

Harman told MPs the force needed to tackle the officers who allowed Carrick to remain in the Met, and eventually become a member of an elite armed unit, the parliamentary and diplomatic protection command.

“It is about those individuals who are in senior and management positions in the Met who seemed to think that it was all right for Carrick to be given extra responsibilities and promoted, and we need transparency about that.”

Tory MPs including Lee Anderson, Philip Hollobone, and James Daly backed Harman, with Anderson saying “the managers who knew about this” should be sacked and lose their pensions.

The home secretary, Suella Braverman, said an existing government-backed inquiry into the police would examine how Carrick had remained in the force. Under pressure from some on her own side to do more, she also announced a review aimed at making it quicker and easier to sack officers involved in wrongdoing, pledging that it would report in four months.

Braverman said: “It’s now for the Metropolitan police to demonstrate that they have an effective plan in place to rapidly improve their vetting processes.” She added that “much of the impetus for change must come from within policing”.

She told MPs that the failure to remove Carrick would also be part of the Angiolini inquiry already examining how another serving officer was able to abduct, rape and murder Sarah Everard.

Suella Braverman speaks in the commons
Suella Braverman said an existing inquiry would now be expanded to include Carrick. Photograph: Uk Parliament/Reuters

With law and order potentially an election issue, Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, lambasted Braverman’s response.

“Given the scale of the problems, not just in this case but in previous cases as well, her statement is very weak and it shows a serious lack of leadership on something that is so grave and affects confidence in policing as well as serious crimes.”

Labour sources said they would introduce investigative misconduct teams with “substantial training in coercive control” if they won the next general election.

Each team would be expected to pursue active investigations into individuals rather than the current “passive approach” of waiting for criminal investigations to conclude. They would also ensure that the definition of misogyny was properly reflected in the misconduct rules, sources said.

But it is understood that the party is not yet ready to back Harman’s demands to name and eject those who had enabled Carrick to remain in the force.

Freedom of information Act inquiries by the Guardian show that 792 Met officers are facing allegations of racism or sexual misconduct with decisions awaited in their cases.

The Met figure was made up of 556 officers questioned over racism allegations and 236 for alleged sexual misconduct, and was accurate as of two months ago.

Labour MP Diana Johnson, the chair of the home affairs select committee, said: “The Carrick case is yet another appalling example of systemic failures within the police to confront male violence against women and the sexist culture that fosters it. In short, we are witnessing the consequences of institutionalised sexism.”

Dame Vera Baird, victims’ commissioner until September, told the BBC: “The Metropolitan police seem incapable of not employing – and furthermore retaining – some quite evil people.

“He appears to have been reassessed since the murder of Sarah Everard, since the Charing Cross misogyny scandal came out. Where exactly is the change in culture that we have all been told would occur after that catastrophic death now a couple of years ago?”

Hertfordshire police are continuing to appeal for victims of Carrick to come forward.


Vikram Dodd, Rajeev Syal and Ben Quinn

The GuardianTramp

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