STOCK metropolitan police
The Met Police sign is seen outside the Croydon Custody Centre in south London. Image Credit: AFP

London: A former London police officer was jailed on Tuesday for at least 30 years for a catalogue of violence and brutal sexual offending in a sustained campaign of abuse against women.

David Carrick, who worked in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, used his position of power to intimidate many of his victims, saying no one would believe their word against that of a serving officer, prosecutors said.

The 48-year-old had previously pleaded guilty to 49 charges relating to 12 victims between 2003 and 2020, making him one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders.

Carrick’s offences, which included 24 counts of rape, were all committed while serving in the Metropolitan Police piling further pressure on Britain’s biggest police force, which is already reeling from a series of scandals in recent years.

He appeared in the dock of London’s Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday as Judge Bobbie Cheema-Grubb imposed a life sentence with a minimum term of 32 years minus the time he has already served.

Those sentenced to life imprisonment must serve a minimum term and will be released only if they are no longer considered a risk to the public.

Carrick sat impassively in the dock of London’s Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday as Judge Bobbie Cheema-Grubb told him: “These convictions represent a spectacular downfall for a man charged with upholding the law and empowered to do so even to the extent of being authorised to bear a firearm in the execution of your duty.

“Behind a public appearance of propriety and trustworthiness, you took monstrous advantage of women” the judge said. You brazenly raped and sexually assaulted many women ... and you behaved as if you were untouchable. You were bold and, at times, relentless, trusting that no victim would overcome her shame and fear to report you.” Britain’s interior minister Suella Braverman called Carrick’s crimes “a scar” on the police.

“It is vital we uncover how he was able to wear the uniform for so long,” she said.

Police apology

Carrick had previously come to police attention over nine incidents including accusations of harassment, assault and rape between 2000 - the year before he began training with the Met - and October 2021, when he was first charged.

The London force, which dismissed Carrick last month, has previously apologised for failing to spot his pattern of abuse earlier.

Assistant Commissioner Barbara Gray said in a statement on Sunday evening that she was truly sorry for the harm and devastation caused to Carrick’s victims.

“We let them down and we failed to identify a man in the ranks of the Metropolitan Police Service who carried out the most awful offences,” she said. “He should not have been a police officer.” Mark Rowley, Britain’s former counter-terrorism police chief, who was appointed as the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to clean it up in July last year, has vowed to try to restore trust in the force.

But the harrowing details of Carrick’s offending, which were outlined by prosecutors on Monday, demonstrate the scale of the task facing the Met which has been damaged by revelations of a culture of corruption, racism and misogyny among some officers.

Carrick pleaded guilty to a total of 49 offences, including rape, attempted rape, sexual assault, false imprisonment and coercive and controlling behaviour.

Prosecutor Tom Little told the court on Monday that some of the 49 charges covered multiple incidents and that Carrick admitted no less than 71 instances of serious sexual offending , including 48 rapes.

Some of his victims gave written statements to the court in which they said they no longer trusted the police.

Carrick’s lawyer, Alisdair Williamson, told the court his client accepts full responsibility for what he has done”.

The judge told Carrick: “You have lost your liberty, your job and your status. You have before you the prospect of a difficult time in custody for many years.”