Met Police apologises over forces' David Carrick failure
The unmasking of a serial rapist serving in an elite Met unit may only be the “tip of the iceberg”, with the corruption threatening to seriously undermine faith in the police, they said.
Senior MPs fear that confidence has been so badly undermined that a Royal Commission – a major public inquiry – may be the only way of restoring trust.
Failure to do so could lead to “a disregard of the rule of law”.
PC David Carrick was last week revealed to be a prolific sex offender who abused his role in the police to terrify his victims. He faces a lengthy jail term after admitting dozens of rape and sexual offences against 12 women over 17 years. He will be sentenced next month.
His conviction follows the case of Sarah Everard, 33, who was snatched off the street, raped and murdered by another serving Met officer.
A whistle-blower who previously worked at the same unit as Carrick has described a macho culture of “toxic masculinity”.
Dave Eden, who was in the Diplomatic Protection Group (DPG) said: “You have to ask about the psychology of somebody that wants to swan around in body armour carrying MP5 submachine guns. It’s about image, portraying the hard macho man, picking up women.”
He claimed the unit harboured some “predatory officers” for years, but nothing was done to root them out. Among the behaviour Mr Eden describes are:
● Officers watching pornography on late shifts;
● Prolific and predatory behaviour including patrolling outside Soho nightclubs to pick up women;
● Targeting tourists as they were likely to have left the country before questions could be raised;
● Using police-issue guns to lure impressionable young women into bed.
The Metropolitan Police is currently investigating about 1,000 sexual and domestic abuse allegations that involve complaints against around 800 officers.
Greater Manchester Police has also revealed it had six misconduct cases involving police officers or employees found guilty of sexual offences, or those involving inappropriate relationships with victims of crime, in just three months from October to December, and a further 26 misconduct cases concerning corruption, drugs and violence.
Speaking of the scandals, a senior government source said: “This is huge. I think we are going to discover a hell of a lot more. It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.”
Just two days ago, a former officer who abused his role to start relationships with vulnerable women was jailed for two years and eight months. Rhett Wilson, 27, who had served with West Mercia Police, admitted three corruption offences at Worcester Crown Court.
There are fears that public confidence in the police could be shattered if forces cannot root out their abusers.
Mr Eden claims a “toxic canteen culture” of watching porn on night shifts and using guns to impress women went largely unchallenged among some officers within the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Command predecessor more than 25 years ago.
Mr Eden, who spent seven years with the unit until 1995, claims that this culture, which may have attracted and even enabled predators like Carrick, was entrenched years ago.
He said: “That culture went unchallenged, and if it was, the officer was bullied and forced out. We used to sit and watch porn on night duty on satellite TV, or somebody would bring a porn movie in.”
He left the force as a sergeant in 2010 and has remained in contact with former and current officers via messaging platforms.
He described seeing a sexist and racist culture evolve, from police noticeboards in the early days to private groups on encrypted messaging apps. Last year Mr Eden blew the whistle over alleged racist content on a WhatsApp group of former DPG colleagues.
A man was suspended and arrested on suspicion of offences under the Communications Act and misconduct in a public office and remains on police bail.
The suspect had served on the DPG with Mr Eden, who says that after he blew the whistle, new Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley arranged to meet him. The meeting was later cancelled.
The source pushed for major reform so that officers who are a danger to the public are identified and removed. A key priority is overhauling reporting systems and ensuring that senior officers can be trusted by juniors.
“They have got to have seniors they can trust and not seniors who are part of the problem and in collusion,” they said.
They insisted this was about much more than changing the “culture” of policing, saying: “It is much more endemic. It is institutional and it is structural.”
Warning of the consequences if public trust in policing collapses, the senior political source said: “I think we’ll have a disregard of the rule of law.”
The source stressed that problems are not limited to London but exist across the country.
“This is like a big fat onion,” they said. “You are peeling back various layers.
“You are discovering all sorts of things. Some layers are going to make us really weep and really cry a lot, and it’s those layers we have to tackle.”
A leading women’s charity has also demanded robust action.
Farah Nazeer, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said: “Sorry is not an acceptable response to the women whose lives have been ruined by Carrick, nor is it enough for the thousands more women and girls who have lost all confidence and trust in the Met Police.
“Apologies and assurances are meaningless unless they are backed up by robust and measurable actions which tackle the deep-seated misogyny that has been allowed to fester within the Met Police for far too long.”
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