London’s police force on Monday publicly apologized after a former officer admitted to raping and sexually assaulting a dozen women over nearly two-decades.
“I apologise to all of David Carrick’s victims. We have failed. I’m sorry,” London’s Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley said in a video attached to the tweet. “He should not have been a police officer. I have promised action. Integrity is our foundation – the Met will become ruthless at rooting out those who corrupt it.”
David Carrick, 48, pleaded guilty to 49 offenses, including 24 counts of rape and charges that included assault, attempted rape and false imprisonment in connection to the attacks that took place over a 17-year period. The officer, who joined the force in 2001, previously served with the parliamentary and diplomatic protection command.
The department apologized to victims after it emerged that nine allegations of rape and other crimes were made against Carrick from 2000 to 2021. He wassuspended from the force after his arrest for a rape complaint in 2021.
“This man abused women in the most disgusting manner,” Rowley said.
Britain’s PA Media news agency reported Carrick admitted in court to raping nine women, some on multiple occasions over months or years, and to having locked some of his victims in his home without food and forcing them to clean his house naked. He said he whipped one woman with a belt, urinated on some of the victims and told them when they could eat and sleep in a pattern of violence and controlling behavior.
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In an interview with BBC, Assistant Commissioner Barbara Gray said authorities should have done more after his behavior was reported years ago.
“He has had a devastating impact on the trust and confidence of women and girls that we are working so hard to earn. He has devastated colleagues,” Gray said. “He used the fact he was a police officer to control and coerce his victims. We should have spotted his pattern of abusive behavior and because we didn’t, we missed opportunities to remove him from the organization.”
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Police said Carrick met some of the women through online dating sites including Tinder or on social occasions, using his position as a police officer to gain their trust. The victims did not feel able to come forward sooner because Carrick told them they would not be believed, Gray said.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was “absolutely sickened and appalled” by the revelations.
“Londoners will be rightly shocked that this man was able to work for the Met for so long, and serious questions must be answered about how he was able to abuse his position as an officer in this horrendous manner,” Khan released in a statement.
Khan has put heavy pressure on the Metropolitan Police, the U.K.’s largest police force, to reform its culture and standards after a string of controversies and allegations of misogyny and racism within police ranks.
Authorities said trust in police has been undermined since a serving officer, Wayne Couzens, was convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering a stranger, Sarah Everard, while she was walking home at night in London in 2021.
Lawmaker Yvette Cooper, from the opposition Labour Party, said Carrick’s case was “further evidence of appalling failures in the police vetting and misconduct processes, still not addressed by government.”
A judge is expected to sentence Carrick in February.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, help is available.
Contributing: The Associated Press
Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.