The case has alarmed the United Kingdom, where memories of the abduction and murder of Sarah Everard — a young woman walking home in south London — by police officer Wayne Couzens during the pandemic are still fresh.
“We have failed. I’m sorry. He should not have been a police officer,” Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Mark Rowley said, issuing an apology to all of Carrick’s victims. “This man abused women in the most disgusting manner, it is sickening.”
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Rowley praised the women who had come forward as “unimaginably brave” after Carrick pleaded guilty to multiple counts of rape, indecent assault and false imprisonment in a London court on Monday.
He will receive his prison sentence on Feb. 6, the Met said.
Although he worked as a Met police officer from 2001, including a stint in parliamentary and diplomatic protection, it was only in October 2021 that alarm bells were raised after Carrick was charged with rape.
At that point, the Met police began “a thorough review of his service,” which revealed a “pattern of behavior that should have raised concerns,” it admitted in its statement.
“He used the fact he was a police officer to control and coerce his victims,” Assistant Commissioner Barbara Gray said. “We should have spotted his pattern of abusive behavior and because we didn’t, we missed opportunities to remove him from the organization. We are truly sorry.”
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Carrick was vetted upon joining the Met in 2001 and again in 2017 — on both occasions his vetting was successful.
Gray called Garrick a “prolific, serial sex offender” who preyed on women for many years. “He has devastated women’s lives. … He has devastated colleagues,” she added. “But regrettably he is not the only Met officer to have been charged with serious sexual offenses in the recent past.”
Public anger is rising over the fact that Carrick was only “suspended” from his job in October 2021 and not immediately fired. His salary was stopped, the police noted, but he remained an employee until Tuesday.
A spokesman for the Met police, Chris Humphreys, told The Washington Post that criminal proceedings had to reach a guilty plea or conviction stage before a misconduct process could be concluded and employment terminated, which he acknowledged “seems absurd” to external onlookers.
However, he added that the force would be “reviewing the details of any allegations of domestic abuse or sexual offenses from the past 10 years,” where a Met officer or staff were involved.
It estimates about 1,633 cases will be reviewed, involving more than 1,000 officers and staff.
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Rowley, the Met commissioner, also promised his force would “reform at speed,” and step up its national vetting procedures to root out “problematic officers.”
The Met has more than 43,000 officers and staff and is the UK’s largest police service, afforded 25 percent of the total police budget for England and Wales and responsible for safety across much of the capital.
In recent years it has faced intense criticism for a string of failures including the killing of Everard and the heavy-handed policing of a subsequent vigil, accusations of institutional racism, being slow to investigate the “Partygate” scandal that toppled then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government and the resignation of its former chief, Cressida Dick, amid scandal and public pressure last year.
London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan has called Carrick’s offenses “appalling.”
“Whilst work to reform the culture and standards of the Met is underway — questions must be answered around why he continued to work for the Met,” he tweeted. “It’s vital that all victims of crime have confidence in our police.”
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A spokesperson for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak urged police forces across the nation to “root out these officers to restore the public’s trust, which has been shattered by high profile events such as this.”