A Metropolitan police officer has been revealed as a serial rapist who committed more than 40 attacks, despite the force being told of repeated allegations over two decades that he was a threat to women.
PC David Carrick, an armed officer in the parliamentary and diplomatic protection command, admitted on Monday to more than 43 counts – some detailing multiple offences, against 12 women.
Police and prosecutors say he exploited his position as a Met officer to lure women, then terrorise them into staying silent about his sexual attacks and degradation of them.
The scale of offending by Carrick, 48, spanning 17 years, makes him one of the worst sexual offenders in modern criminal history.
He pleaded guilty to the final offences against him on Monday at Southwark crown court, allowing reporting restrictions to be lifted.
It can now be revealed the Met has admitted errors in failing to spot Carrick’s escalating danger during his 20 years’ service.
The force was told about nine incidents from 2000 to 2021, including eight alleged attacks or clashes Carrick had with women prior to the arrest that led to his convictions.
No action was taken, with the women either refusing to formally complain or withdrawing their cooperation from the police investigation.
Alarm bells also failed to ring within the force, which promoted Carrick in 2009 from patrolling the streets to being a member of an elite armed unit, the parliamentary and diplomatic protection command, guarding embassies, Downing Street and the houses of parliament.
One incident took place before Carrick joined the Met in 2001. The Guardian understands another, in 2002, included an allegation that he had bitten a woman’s shoulder after their relationship ended, and came during his probation period when it would have been easier to dismiss him.
A court earlier heard that before one alleged attack on a woman in September 2020, Carrick, from Stevenage in Hertfordshire, flashed his police warrant card to make the woman feel safe, bragged about guarding the prime minister, and said his work nickname was “bastard Dave”.
Other victims he admits attacking were warned that if they spoke out about him raping and sexually assaulting them they would not be believed because he was a police officer.
Police and prosecutors say Carrick sought to dominate and humiliate his victims, turning a tiny understair cupboard into a dark space where some were forced to stay naked and cramped for hours.
He verbally abused the women, calling one his “slave”, and used sexual violence to degrade them, including urinating on some of the women.
The Met said it should have spotted the threat Carrick posed to women during his time in the force from 2001, when he first passed the force’s vetting procedure. In 2009, he was given a gun, and despite the complaints against him he passed vetting again in 2017.
Barbara Gray, the assistant commissioner at the Met, said the force was reviewing every past claim of domestic abuse or sexual offence against about 1,000 of the Met’s 45,000 officers and staff.
The Met said Carrick should never have been allowed to join the force and that his offending was “unprecedented” in itsduration and nature, and follows a string of other scandals.
DCI Iain Moor, who led the investigation into Carrick by Hertfordshire police, said: “He invested time in developing relationships with women to sustain his appetite for degradation and control. The coercive nature of his offending undermined his victims in the most destructive way.
“Many of the rape offences came with violence against the victim, who would have been physically injured.”
Some of the offences took place in London, but most were in Hertfordshire and it was that local force whose investigation led to Carrick’s convictions.
Police suspect Carrick had other victims who have yet to come forward, or who told detectives of the Met officer’s attacks on them but then could not face the ordeal of a trial, which is notoriously gruelling for victims of sexual violence.
Carrick met some women via dating apps, others were acquaintances or women he met in real life. One woman was attacked during a three-year relationship with the Met officer.
Moor said Carrick’s abuse of his position cast a “big cloud” over policing. “It is unbelievable to think these offences could have been committed by a serving police officer. But these victims are now survivors and have showed incredible bravery and courage by coming forward,” he said.
Harriet Wistrich, of the Centre for Women’s Justice, said: “All these revelations in the context of the wider picture that has been revealed of misogyny within the Met is seriously undermining of women’s confidence in the police …
“[Carrick’s] crimes, along with a significant number of other Met police officers, reveals the a deeply rotten misogynistic culture that has been allowed to exist within the Met.”
Gray, the Met’s lead for professionalism, said: “Carrick is a prolific, serial sex offender who preyed on women over a period of 17 years, abusing his position as a police officer and committing the most horrific, degrading crimes.
“He used the fact he was a police officer to control and coerce his victims. We know they felt unable to come forward sooner because he told them they would not be believed. We should have spotted his pattern of abusive behaviour and because we didn’t, we missed opportunities to remove him from the organisation.
“We are truly sorry that being able to continue to use his role as a police officer may have prolonged the suffering of his victims.”
The Met said it would start the process of formally sacking Carrick on Tuesday.
Carrick, who served in the army before joining the Met, will be sentenced next month.