Police officer one of U.K.’s worst serial sex offenders
Serial sex offender David Carrick served for years in one of Britain’s most elite armed police units. He is now behind bars, but his ability to evade justice only adds to the growing distrust and anger towards police in the UK. CNN investigated how the failures prevented Carrick from being stopped sooner.
Carrick joined the ranks of Britain’s worst serial sex offenders in January when he pleaded guilty to raping scores of women over almost two decades. All this time he was an officer in London’s Metropolitan Police Service, and for most of it, armed, working in an elite unit that protected the UK’s top government buildings and ministers.
After Carrick pleaded guilty to a total of 71 sex offences, the Met Police admitted there were nine “missed opportunities” when he had previously come to the attention of its own and other forces despite never being charged with a criminal offence. not nominated.
Those nine “opportunities” spanned decades. Between 2000 and 2021, Carrick was charged with multiple crimes, including theft, harassment, assault and rape.
No police officer has yet faced any consequences for failing to notice or stop Carrick’s pattern of abusive behavior.
CNN spoke to more than a dozen police officers from several forces in England and examined the Met’s own misconduct guidelines to find out how Carrick’s abuse could have been prevented.
The investigation into the nine incidents found at least two instances, in 2019 and 2021, where the Met Police failed to follow those guidelines, leaving Carrick’s violent and degrading treatment of women free to meet with further victims.
He was finally arrested on suspicion of rape in July 2021. Darcián Nunez da Silva, who met Carrick in February 2020, reported him to a police station outside London after months of sexual abuse. Carrick was placed on limited duty and his gun was removed, but he was not suspended.
A month later, Nunes da Silva dropped the charges, later telling CNN that the police did not believe him. As a result, Carrick was allowed to prepare to return to full duty, which will include carrying a gun as a police officer on the streets of the British capital. Nunez da Silva waived his legal right to remain anonymous to share his account with CNN.
It wasn’t until another woman came forward in October 2021 to report Carrick for rape that she was finally charged and Nunes da Silva decided to reopen her case.
But Nunes da Silva may never have met Carrick if the Met Police had handled earlier complaints against him differently.
In September 2019, just five months before they met, a neighbor saw him grabbing a woman by the neck and called Hertfordshire Police, the local police service. The incident was reported to the force’s domestic violence team but was later noted as “no further action”.
Hertfordshire Police told CNN that they have reported the incident to the Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS), the division that investigates complaints of police misconduct.
CNN analyzed DPS’ standard operating procedures; each complaint must meet a certain threshold of severity to be considered misconduct. This includes conduct that “constitutes a criminal offence”, which could be considered applicable to grabbing a woman’s neck.
If the complaint involves a “serious assault by a member of the police service”, it should be referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). This did not happen.
Nusrit Mehtab, a former police officer who worked closely with DPS, said the report “should be taken seriously” because Carrick was carrying a gun and the reported incident indicated domestic violence. He told CNN it “should have been escalated” to senior management.
Hertfordshire Police told CNN that the victim involved in the 2019 incident “recently contacted” the force following Carrick’s sentencing on charges against him, which are now “under investigation”.
At the time, DPS was headed by Assistant Deputy Commissioner Matthew Horne. Horn himself was found to have engaged in gross misconduct before joining DPS for intimidating and threatening staff. He was then accused of trying to obtain information related to a misconduct investigation against him.
It’s unclear whether Horne was aware of the allegations against Carrick, but police sources told CNN that he must have been in his role. CNN has reached out to Horne for comment, but has not yet heard back.
Horne’s appointment to the DPS was later questioned in the UK Parliament when a politician asked then UK Commissioner Cressida Dick whether it was “sensible” to appoint him as the role required “an above average level of integrity and authority”. : “
Before Nunes da Silva filed his complaint about Carrick in 2021, the 2019 incident in which he was accused of grabbing a woman by the neck could be traced to a DPS database known as “Centurion.”
In DPS’s Standard Operating Procedures, the first step after receiving a complaint is to “check for previous complaints” with Centurion. Had this process been followed, CNN confirmed, the 2019 incident would have been noted in Carrick’s records.
CNN asked the Metropolitan Police if anyone from DPS looked up previous complaints against Carrick when Nunes da Silva was making his claim, but did not receive a response.
Even after Nunes da Silva dropped his charges, which was not unusual in sexual assault cases, police could have continued to actively investigate Carrick’s conduct, especially given the gravity of the alleged crime.
Nunez da Silva’s experience with the police may point to a broader problem. Figures from the Metropolitan Police show that between 2010 and 2021, out of 573 accused, only two police officers were accused of rape or sexual assault after a public complaint was made against them.
Notably, Nunes da Silva brought her complaint at a time when police were aware of intense public scrutiny of their actions against women. Earlier that year, police officer Wayne Cousins had brutally kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard, an incident that horrified the nation, sparked public outcry and sparked a national debate about violence against women. Cousins served two years in the same elite police department as Carrick.
Questions about Carrick’s case reached the desk of London Mayor Sadiq Khan. After learning of Carrick’s arrest and the fact that he was in the same unit as Cousins, Khan told Dick, the police chief at the time, that his case should take priority. It was the latest in a series of police scandals that would eventually lead to his resignation in 2022.
CNN spoke with other members of the unit that Carrick and Cousins belonged to, known as the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Group, or PaDP. One current member, who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, had worked with the two and said the other officers had “no idea” and were worried about what happened.
Another former colleague, Nathan Bush, who is retired from the police force, told CNN that the news about Carrick made him “question probably every individual that he worked with” and made him think “too much Were there too many jokes? He added: “It still baffles me how the monster managed to wear that uniform.”
That “monster” became clear during Carrick’s sentencing when Judge Bobby Cheema-Grubb read evidence relating to the small scale of his abuse. The court heard how he threatened the victims with his firearm, sending one a photo of his weapon with the caption “remember I’m the boss”.
As punishment, he locked her naked in a small closet under the stairs in his house, “and stood and whistled outside.”
In a worrying update, two PaDP officers were contacted by one of Carrick’s victims and have since been placed on restricted duties while they are investigated for abuse, the Met Police said. An officer contacted the victim after Carrick’s arrest in October 2021. Sky News reported that the officers sent “sexually suggestive” messages to the victim.
Efforts have been made to restore confidence in the Met Police since the Carrick news broke. Current commissioner Mark Rowley has apologized profusely for the force’s failure to stop Carrick sooner. Meanwhile, the UK government has added the Carrick case to an ongoing non-statutory inquiry into Cousins’ crimes.
Rowley also announced that the Met Police is reviewing previously closed cases involving 1,071 police and staff flagged for sex offences.
Separately, the IOPC said it would review the police’s handling of Carrick’s case, having previously said no officers were being investigated for misconduct. CNN has reached out to the Met Police for this investigation and they have referred us to their existing statements on Carrick. They said they would not comment further while government reviews of the handling of the case continue.
In February, Carrick was sentenced to 36 life sentences for years of abuse. He will spend at least 30 years in prison. During sentencing, Judge Cheema-Grab told Carrick he had acted as if he was “untouchable”.
Since then, more potential victims have come forward, Hertfordshire Police confirmed to CNN. And the Center for Women’s Justice, a legal charity that represents women abused by Carrick, told CNN that some of them are now considering a class-action lawsuit against the Met.
The crisis at the Met and public revulsion at wrongdoing by its officers show no signs of abating.
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