Met Police Admit Failure to Investigate Sex Abuse Allegations Against Former Officer

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Hywel Thomas

Senior Associate Solicitor, Abuse

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TW: This article covers themes of sexual abuse

David Carrick faced sentencing on the 7th February 2023 after admitting to 49 counts relating to serious sexual assaults over two decades, during his time as a police officer. Repeated inaction by the Metropolitan Police means that despite multiple accusations against him, Carrick wasn’t fully investigated for over 20 years.

In October 2021, a woman reported that she was raped by David Carrick, 48, a police officer from the Metropolitan Police Force. He was arrested by Hertfordshire detectives, suspended from duty and, following a guilty plea, faced life imprisonment for his crimes. The Hertfordshire Constabulary’s successful investigation prompted more women to come forward with allegations against Carrick.

When Carrick was finally arrested after the October 2021 allegation, the investigation unveiled a string of accusations against him, dating back over two decades. Some of these incidents happened before he was vetted and joined the Met in 2001.

Carrick also faced an allegation of rape as recently as July 2021. The Met police decided that no further action would be taken and Carrick was placed on restricted duties.

The Met have admitted that clues had previously come out about Carrick’s abusive behaviour. Along with other police forces, they were aware of complaints from many women but failed to notice this pattern and thoroughly investigate Carrick. During his service, he was the subject of five complaints from members of the public, and nine occasions of ‘off duty matters’ which include harassment and assault.

Metropolitan Police have publicly apologised for their failings and have begun to take steps to improve their internal procedures and investigation processes.

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Carrick pleaded guilty to 85 serious offences, including 48 rapes, sexual assaults, false imprisonment and coercive and controlling behaviour, which has resulted in life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 32 years minus the time already spent in custody.

Abuser Carrick’s Exploitation of Power

Carrick is said to have exploited his status as a police officer to put victims at ease, abuse them and scare them into silence. Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb stated in the court that “This violent sexual offending against women commenced almost immediately after you became a police constable, and you referred to your job when offending.” Carrick would tell the women they were safe with him, as he was a police officer, whilst raping them and holding a firearm to their head. Another instance would include handcuffs to restrain them, and photos of firearms being sent with captions stating “Remember I’m the boss”.

It has been revealed that Carrick abused women within three separate controlling and coercive relationships, and also during one-off encounters. Sexual abusers can still be brought to justice, regardless of what their relationship was with the victim at the time, or if they were in a position of authority.

Our team of Abuse Lawyers know that survivors and victims of abuse can struggle to come forward. This is often made worse when the abuser is, or has been in, a position of authority, control or power, or is a respected member of society. Accusations against Carrick over the years were either dropped because the survivors felt unable to go forward with the investigation, or the police did not consider them to be serious enough.

Our lawyers at Simpson Millar have over 30 years of experience dealing with instances of institutional and religious abuse. We have a track record of listening to and supporting survivors of sexual abuse on their journey to justice.

Police Issue Apology for Failings

The Metropolitan Police Force have condemned Carrick’s actions, taken accountability for their failure to investigate him, and praised the women who came forward about the abuse they suffered.

Following Carrick’s conviction, the Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said:

“This man abused women in the most disgusting manner. It is sickening. We've let women and girls down. The women who suffered and survived this violence have been unimaginably brave and courageous in coming forward.

"We have failed. And I'm sorry. He should not have been a police officer.

"We haven't applied the same sense of ruthlessness to guarding our own integrity that we routinely apply to confronting criminals. We failed as investigators where we should have been more intrusive and joined the dots on this repeated misogyny over a couple of decades.

"These failures are horrific examples of the systemic failures that concern me. I do know an apology doesn't go far enough, but I do think it's important to acknowledge our failings and for me to say I'm sorry.”

Actions the Police Are Taking

The Metropolitan Police have dismissed Carrick for gross misconduct. They have said “radical and rapid changes” are underway.

The Met have pledged to:

  • Review every past claim of domestic abuse or sexual offence against Met officers and staff, investigating about 1,000 of their 45,000 employees;
  • Invest millions of pounds into internal investigation, intelligence capabilities and database audits;
  • Bring 400 new officers and staff to investigate offenders in the police service;
  • Launch appeals to staff and the public, including setting up an anti-corruption and abuse hotline.

It’s vital that the police follow through with the measures they’ve promised, in order to rebuild public trust and eradicate sexual abusers from their force.

Assistant Commissioner Barbara Gray made the following statement in the wake of recent sexual abuse reports against officers, and findings about the police’s failings:

“The duration and nature of Carrick’s offending is unprecedented in policing. But regrettably he is not the only Met officer to have been charged with serious sexual offences in the recent past.  

“Our work to identify and rid the Met of corrupt officers is determined and focused.

“As the Commissioner has said, we will continue to be relentless in our pursuit of those who are engaged in corrupt or criminal behaviour using all the available tactics and techniques at our disposal.”

On the 18th October 2023, the IOPC announced the news that there were ‘Ten facing investigations into their handling of reports about David Carrick’. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) are using the rarely used ‘power of initiative’ to call in the launch of four probes into the alleged failings by the Metropolitan Police when investigating the allegations from 2002, 2016, 2019 and 2021. There is currently an investigation into a detective constable, detective sergeant, detective inspector and two chief inspectors who are all under investigation for gross misconduct.

How our Abuse Lawyers Can Help

The police are fearful that David Carrick targeted at least 19 victims over 30 years, and they believe there are more victims out there. No offences are currently recorded between 2009 and 2016, but when the attacks resumed in 2017, they had intensified and become more severe.

Following reports in the media surrounding the investigation into Carrick’s crimes and his subsequent conviction, more of Carrick’s victims have come forward to the police.

When you report abuse to the police, this should be dealt with by police officers who specialise in cases of this nature. Following an investigation by the police, the case will be passed to the Crown Prosecution Service and they will decide if there is enough evidence to take the case to court. If there’s enough evidence, the Crown Prosecution Service will pursue a criminal conviction, like in this instance.

For those who have experienced abuse, it’s vital they feel confident any report they make to the police will be responded to appropriately and will be investigated, regardless of who the perpetrator is, or their status. It’s important that lessons are learnt from the failings of the Met Police, and also the efforts of those officers led by Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit.

They acted appropriately and did a thorough investigation to bring Carrick to Justice, to ensure victims of abuse can come forward in the future.

DCI Moor of Hertfordshire Police said “The details of David Carrick’s crimes are truly shocking, and I suspect many will be appalled and sickened by his actions, but I hope his victims, and the public more widely, are reassured that no-one is above the law and that the police service will relentlessly pursue those offenders who target women in this way.”

If you have sustained physical or psychological injury as a result of abuse, you may be able to make a claim for compensation and any losses you have sustained, such as the cost of treatment. Over the years, our specialist team have brought successful claims against individuals, and where appropriate, organisations that they worked or volunteered for. In addition to bringing a civil claim in this way, it may also be possible to apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

You can get in touch with our team on 0808 239 1287 for free and confidential advice on what options are available to you.

If you believe you may be a victim of sexual violence committed by David Carrick then please report the incidents to the police by calling 101.


Crown Prosecution Service. (n.d.). David Carrick. [Online] Available at:

The Guardian. (2023, February 7). David Carrick Jailed for Life for Rapes by Met Police Officer. [Online] Available at:

Crown Prosecution Service. (n.d.). Updated: David Carrick, Police Constable Jailed for Relentless Campaign. [Online] Available at:

Hertfordshire Police. (2023, January). David Carrick Pleads Guilty at Court. [Online] Available at:

Judiciary UK. (2023, February 7). R v David Carrick Sentencing. [PDF] Available at:

The Guardian. (2023, February 7). David Carrick Jailed for Life for Rapes by Met Police Officer. [Online] Available at:

Crown Prosecution Service. (n.d.). David Carrick. [Online] Available at:

Independent Office for Police Conduct. (n.d.). Ten Facing Investigations into Their Handling of Reports About David Carrick. [Online] Available at:

Hywel Thomas Profile Picture

Hywel Thomas

Senior Associate Solicitor, Abuse

Areas of Expertise:
Abuse Claims

With a background in Personal Injury Claims and Criminal Injury Compensation Claims, Hywel started specialising in Abuse Claims in 2001. Over the years, he has seen the area of abuse law evolve, presenting new challenges and learning opportunities. He has tackled cases against diverse groups, from local authorities to private schools, charities, medical organisations, and even individuals.

His passion for understanding psychological injuries led him to this area of Law.  Hywel's work extends beyond seeking financial compensation for his clients; he focuses on helping victims and survivors access support, making a real difference in their healing process. He values each client's unique motivations, ensuring they achieve what they desire through the legal process.

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