David Carrick has proved that there is more than one bad apple in the police – how can women feel safe?

  • london
  • January 17, 2023
  • Comments Off on David Carrick has proved that there is more than one bad apple in the police – how can women feel safe?
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Every woman remembers where they were when Sarah Everard’s body was found.

It was 10 March 2021 – the day before my 28th birthday. I was getting older, while Sarah would eternally stay 33.

The grief I felt was compounded by fury when I discovered that a serving Metropolitan Police Officer had kidnapped, raped and murdered a woman that lived an hour from me.

Even now, nearly two years on – I grieve for the woman I’ll never meet. 

It’s a cold, saturating hatred that I feel towards her killer, Wayne Couzens – a man nicknamed ‘The Rapist’ by his female colleagues

It’s a hatred and a fear I prayed I’d never, ever have to endure again.

I was wrong.

Once again, a serving police officer – a figure holding perhaps the highest position of trust in our society today – used his power to coerce, abuse and betray multiple women in the vilest possible way. 

For almost two decades, serving (and armed) Metropolitan Police officer David Carrick falsely imprisoned, attacked and raped women

Locked them up, one in a cupboard apparently no bigger than a dog crate; humiliated them by making them clean naked, cut them off financially and from their children; raped them repeatedly for months on end, urinated on and physically injured them.

It’s the most sickening, degrading, disturbing pattern of abuse I’ve ever read.

It shows that Sarah’s murderer, Wayne Couzens – a man that used and abused his position of power as a police officer – was far from being a one off.

Carrick is reported to have met some of his victims through online dating sites, and used his role as a police officer to gain their trust.

This week, he pleaded guilty to 49 offences against 12 different women spanning between 2003 and 2020. 

Of these offences, 24 counts of them were rape. And investigating detectives expect more victims to come forward.

‘The scale of the degradation Carrick subjected his victims to is unlike anything I’ve encountered in my 34 years with the Crown Prosecution Service,’ Jaswant Narwal, chief crown prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service admitted.

And, as I wondered whether anything could possibly be worse than a serving, armed officer being exposed as a serial rapist, I discovered that the 48-year-old’s despicable behaviour had been brought to the attention of the police before. 

But not just once. Or twice. Nine times, to be exact.

Before Carrick was arrested, the Met and other forces knew of claims of rape and domestic violence – his colleagues even referred to him as ‘Bastard Dave’ – but he faced no criminal sanctions, or misconduct findings.

Carrick was vetted multiple times through his career – despite receiving five complaints from the public. Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has since claimed that he ‘should not have been a police officer’.

That’s stating the obvious, but then again, is anyone surprised? 

After we surprised, knowing two Met Police officers shared selfies from a crime scene with the bodies of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, alongside the comment ‘two dead birds’? 

It’s hard not to feel totally and utterly betrayed as a woman when trusted serving officers of the law treat your sex with such disregard and disdain.

In February 2022, after Couzens was given a life sentence, Dame Cressida Dick – the then commissioner of the Met Police – claimed that she was ‘leading a real transformation’ in the force. 

Within days, Dick – the first female Commissioner in the Met’s history – quit after being accused of failing to deal with misogyny in the force, among other scandals.

Since then, nothing has changed. Lessons have not been learned. I would even argue that it feels as if the Met’s dedication to protecting women appears to have vanished.

Do you see a transformation in policing, or in women’s safety? Do you see, or feel, any physical change, or progress, spearheaded by the government or those who are supposed to protect us? Because I don’t. 

The government won’t even make drink spiking a specific criminal offence, so we can hardly count on them to make our safety a priority.

Last June, Sadiq Khan – the Mayor of London – announced his Violence Against Women & Girls strategy, reportedly worth £17.7m. A third of the city’s homicide victims were women at the time. All suspects were men. 

As a result, all I see are patronising TfL posters on the tube saying that staring is wrong

The last few years have indicated to me that there is a culture of misogyny that runs deep in the veins of London’s police force – one that breeds inequality, sexism and lets down women.

Only this morning, as a result of Carrick’s crimes, the Met Police revealed that they’re reviewing over 1,600 existing cases of alleged sexual offences and domestic abuse involving staff

Women are scared – terrified, even. And we have been for years now. 

I often lie awake in dread, waiting for recent figures of female homicide victims. It’s an exhausting feeling, being afraid to exist – with no one to protect you.

After Sarah Everard’s death, I flinched at every parked police car – choked by fear. 

I deliberately changed direction if I saw men in the front. That’s how fragile my trust in the police was. Now, any last scrap of hope for change has been shattered.

Carrick’s pattern of abuse should have been spotted, and women who reported him years ago should have been believed. 

The police failed to do their job, more than once, and now there’s at least a dozen women who have been abused and degraded to the most humiliating, extreme lengths by someone who was supposed to be honourable.

After Sarah Everard’s death, the Met appointed Baroness Louise Casey to lead an independent review of its culture and standards of behaviour – it’s expected to be published next month. I’m sure its findings will be nothing we don’t already know. 

The Met needs to be broken down and rebuilt like our shattered trust. We’re sick of being strong and fending for ourselves to simply exist, it’s time for the police to take back the reins before we lose more mothers, sisters, and friends at their hands.

This epidemic of violence against women by serving officers needs to end. Now.

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