David Carrick, a police officer for more than 20 years, pled guilty to 49 sex offences last week, making him one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders.
His admission, which includes 24 counts of rape while a serving officer, involves 12 women between 2003 and 2020. His last attack occurred only months after the abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by another Metropolitan Police officer, Wayne Couzens, on March 3, 2021. Both men were part of the elite Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, the largest armed police unit in the UK. Thought to number 700 officers, it is responsible for guarding diplomats, government ministers and buildings.
Couzens’s crime caused a woman to come forward and report that she had been raped in 2021 by Carrick, who she met through the Tinder dating app. He used his police role to gain her trust, showing off his warrant card and boasting that he protected famous people, including then Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Carrick was arrested by Hertfordshire Constabulary, but after the victim decided not to proceed he was reissued with a firearms licence. Other women came forward. The court heard Carrick told one of his victims, “I can kill you without leaving any evidence.” All his victims said they did not think they would be believed against a police officer.
Carrick was a sadist who humiliated his victims, including by urinating on them and forcing them naked into a tiny understairs cupboard in his home where they were imprisoned for hours. He pleaded guilty to a total of 85 offences and will be sentenced next week.
Nicknamed “Bastard Dave” by his colleagues, Carrick’s propensity for cruelty was well known. He had been reported for abusive and violent behaviour on at least nine occasions during his career, without action being taken. He was the subject of five complaints from members of the public during his Met service, none of which were actioned. Three further public complaints, including the use of force, were dismissed, or subsequently withdrawn.
In 2009, he was transferred to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command. More complaints followed, including harassment and a drunken incident at a nightclub, but Carrick kept his position and his gun, leaving him free to torture more victims.
The exposure of Carrick’s crimes has seen much wringing of hands by the powers-that-be. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said his abuse of power was “absolutely despicable,” while Sir Mark Rowley, who became head of the Met in September, said, “We failed as investigators… and as leaders, our mindset should have been more determined to root out such a misogynist.”
The Met claimed that new vetting procedures, introduced after the murder of Sarah Everard, meant Carrick would have been uncovered. The Met was placed under “special measures” last year after further exposures of bullying, racial discrimination, and misogyny.
At least 16 Metropolitan Police officers have been convicted of crimes since Sarah Everard’s killing, including 12 for sexual offences or violence against women. Rowley was forced to admit that the Met is reviewing a total of 1,633 cases of alleged sexual or domestic violence by 1,071 officers and staff over the past decade to “root out potential predators.” This includes four Met officers under investigation for strip-searching a 15-year-old girl in police cells.
Speaking at the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee, Rowley said that two or three criminal cases against his officers are expected to go to court each week over the next months and that the public should “prepare for more painful stories as we confront cases that… corrupt our integrity.”
The shocking admissions have led to demands for an inquiry and police reform, as opinion polls show widespread mistrust in the police. Labour’s home affairs spokesperson, Yvette Cooper, pledged the “next Labour government will introduce new national compulsory standards on vetting, checks and misconduct. We urgently need action to raise standards and restore confidence in the vital work the police do.”
The Economist opined, “Predators thrive in institutions that smooth access to victims. The Metropolitan Police Service is no exception.”
In the Guardian, Jonathan Freedland argued, “The Metropolitan police is a diseased institution.”
All the prescriptions for remedy, however, have been heard before and will change nothing.
Freedland cites the Macpherson Inquiry in 1998 into the murder of 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence in Plumstead, southeast London on April 22, 1993, by six white youths. Macpherson ruled that police “failures” in investigating his murder were the result of “institutional racism” and recommended “diversity” training and increasing the recruitment of black and Asian officers.
Now, Freedland argues, “as a first step, there needs to be a Macpherson-style investigation of misogyny in the Met.”
Just as the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) was found to be mistrusted by “half the population of Northern Ireland” and “replaced with a new service… the Met has similarly lost the confidence of half the population it’s meant to serve: namely, women. The remedy should be the same for London as it was for Northern Ireland: scrap the Met and start again.”
The Macpherson inquiry changed nothing in terms of police brutality, especially against ethnic minorities. Black and Asian police numbers rose from 3.5 percent in 2005 to 8.1 percent in 2022. That did not save the life of Chris Kaba, a 24-year-old who was unarmed when he was shot through the car windscreen in south London by a Met officer on September 5, 2022.
There are now more female police officers (50,364) than ever, making up almost 35 percent of overall numbers. Some 42.5 percent of police recruited since April 2020 are women, but that didn’t save Sarah Everard or Carrick’s victims. Up until September 2022, the Met was headed by Cressida Dick, promoted to the position after she oversaw the anti-terror operation that led to the police killing of innocent Brazilian immigrant worker Jean Charles de Menezesshot to death and hit at point blank range 11 times on July 22, 2005.
Nothing better exposes the fallacy that greater “diversity” will lessen police brutality than the savage January 7 murder of Tyre Nichols, by five African-American police officers in Memphis, Tennessee.
As for the RUC, the overwhelmingly Protestant force was dissolved to create the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to facilitate the incorporation of Sinn Féin into the new power-sharing structures set out in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. The RUC was unable to operate effectively in Catholic areas and the PSNI was considered a more “credible” means for the police to stamp their authority across the whole of Northern Ireland.
The PSNI is currently mired in scandal after allegations of “concerning officer sexual predation, misogyny, domestic abuse and the use of social media groups”. A review by the Northern Ireland Policing Board identified “an increase in cases” of misconduct that has seen 11 officers dismissed last year among 130 gross misconduct cases.
As Friedrich Engels explained, the police are “special bodies of armed men,” established and maintained to defend the capitalist system based on class exploitation and are the enforcers of inequality and oppression.
Behind all the talk of reform, the police are being given extraordinary powers as the ruling elite in the UK, as the world over, responds to the economic, social and health catastrophe it has created by adopting ever more authoritarian methods of rule.
In addition to the passage last year of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which criminalised peaceful protests, the government is bringing forward a new Public Order Bill that will allow police to outlaw protests even before they have taken place, and expand stop and search powers.
On Monday, parliament will hear the second reading of the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill making its way rapidly to the statue books, which will prevent workers from taking effective strike action by forcing those in “important public services”—over five million—to keep working under “work notices” during industrial action or face the sack.
Police impunity is being strengthened, not weakened, as the police are given carte blanche to act ever more openly as an instrument of state violence against working people.
Changing this requires that workers understand the political and social function of the police in capitalist society. The task is not police “reform” but the overthrow of the entire state apparatus and reorganising society to meet social need not, private profit.