HomeCrimeJust in! UK police officer who admitted to abusing women over the...

Just in! UK police officer who admitted to abusing women over the span of decades sentenced

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David Carrick, a serial sex offender, served in one of Britain’s most elite armed police units for years. He is now behind bars, but his ability to evade justice has only fueled a growing distrust and anger toward police in the United Kingdom. CNN has investigated how failures may have 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 multiple women over a period of almost two decades. Throughout this time, he was an officer with London’s Metropolitan Police Service, and for most of it an armed one, working in an elite unit that protects high-profile UK government buildings and ministers.

After Carrick pleaded guilty to a total of 71 sexual offences, the Met Police admitted there were nine “missed opportunities” when he had previously come to its and other forces’ attention, although he was never charged with a criminal offense.

Carrick joined the ranks of Britain’s worst serial sex offenders in January when he pleaded guilty to raping multiple women over a period of almost two decades. Throughout this time, he was an officer with London’s Metropolitan Police Service, and for most of it an armed one, working in an elite unit that protects high-profile UK government buildings and ministers.

After Carrick pleaded guilty to a total of 71 sexual offences, the Met Police admitted there were nine “missed opportunities” when he had previously come to its and other forces’ attention, although he was never charged with a criminal offense.

Nine “missed opportunities

  • 2000

    A former partner accuses Carrick of burglary. He is not arrested and no further action is taken. — Metropolitan Police

    • 2000

      A former partner accuses Carrick of sending abusive messages. He is not arrested and no further action is taken. — Metropolitan Police

    • 2002

      A former partner accuses Carrick of assault and harassment. He is not arrested and no further action is taken with regards to the criminal allegation. — Metropolitan Police

    • 2004

      Carrick is involved in a domestic incident. No criminal allegations are made and he is not arrested. — Metropolitan Police

    • 2009

      A third party makes a domestic abuse complaint involving Carrick. Carrick’s supervisors at the Met Police are informed. No criminal allegations are made and he is not arrested. —Hertfordshire Constabulary

    • 2016

      Carrick is a suspect in a stalking complaint. He is not arrested and the investigation is later closed. — Hampshire Constabulary

    • 2017

      Carrick is spoken to by police after being ejected from a nightclub drunk. He is not arrested and the matter is not referred to the Met Police. — Thames Valley Police

    • 2019

      A neighbor reports seeing Carrick grab a woman by the neck. The Met Police are informed but he is not arrested. — Hertfordshire Constabulary

    • 2021

      A victim comes forward to make a rape allegation against Carrick. The Met Police are informed and he is arrested but the victim later withdraws the allegation. — Hertfordshire Constabulary

      Those nine “opportunities” spanned decades. Between 2000 and 2021, Carrick was accused of multiple crimes including burglary, harassment, assault and rape.

      As yet, no police officer has faced any consequences for failing to spot or stop Carrick’s pattern of abusive behavior.

      CNN has spoken to more than a dozen police officers from multiple forces in England and examined the Met’s own guidelines on handling misconduct, to identify how Carrick’s abuse could have been prevented.

      An investigation into the nine incidents has found at least two occasions, in 2019 and 2021, when the Met Police did not follow those guidelines, leaving Carrick’s violent and degrading treatment of women to go unchecked, and him free to meet further victims.

      He was finally arrested on suspicion of rape in July 2021. Darciane Nunes da Silva, who had met Carrick in February 2020, reported him at a police station outside of London after months of sexual abuse. Carrick was placed on restricted duties and his gun was removed, but he was not suspended.

      After a month, Nunes da Silva withdrew the allegation, later telling CNN she didn’t feel believed by the police. As a result, Carrick was allowed to prepare to return to full duties, which would include carrying a gun as a police officer on the streets of the British capital. Nunes da Silva waived her legal right to anonymity to share her account with CNN.

      It was only when another woman came forward in October 2021 to report Carrick for rape that he was finally charged and Nunes da Silva decided to reopen her case.

      But Nunes da Silva might never have encountered Carrick if the Met Police had handled previous complaints against him differently.

      In September 2019, just five months before they met, a neighbor saw him grab a woman by the neck and called Hertfordshire Constabulary, the local police service. The incident was flagged to the force’s domestic abuse team but later marked as “no further action.”

      Hertfordshire Constabulary told CNN it sent a crime report on the incident to the Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS), the department at the Met Police handling complaints of police misconduct.

      CNN analyzed the DPS’ Standard Operating Procedures: Each complaint has to meet a certain threshold of severity to be considered misconduct. This includes behavior that “amounts to 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 must be referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). This did not happen.

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