Refuge’s Ruth Davison responds to the plea entered by serving Met police officer David Carrick
In response to the plea entered by serving Met police officer David Carrick today, Ruth Davison, Refuge Chief Executive said:
Today, the platitudes must end. The crimes that David Carrick is accused of committing are utterly abhorrent, and his ability to be appointed and continue to serve as a police officer, while multiple allegations against him had been received by the force, will terrify women and girls up and down the country.
What has come to light today is barbarous and I send solidarity to the brave women who have come forward and reported these crimes. When a man who has been charged with 49 offences, including 24 charges of rape, is a serving police officer, how can women and girls possibly be – or feel – safe. The police are supposed to be our first line of defence, they are supposed to protect us from violent crime, they are supposed to hold perpetrators to account. Instead, the people who commit violent crimes against women are able to hold positions of power within the force and use their authority and status to abuse and harm, seemingly with impunity.
For too long, we have heard that things will change, that lessons are being learned, that mistakes will not be allowed to happen again. There has been enquiry after enquiry, promise after promise. But I see little evidence of any change today, and I ask myself what has to happen before crimes against women and girls are taken seriously? Last year, the government agreed to make violence against women and girls a strategic policing priority, yet here we are again, learning about the numerous violent crimes committed by a man whose job it was to protect the public. As he stood in the dock today, David Carrick remained a serving police officer. One who had been authorised to carry firearms.
We cannot continue to be told that these are isolated incidents, that this is ‘one bad apple’. Last month, the director general of the IOPC stood down, after serious allegations were made against him. If the office responsible for investigating police misconduct is having to investigate its own director for allegations of crimes committed against a woman, then how can anyone have any faith in its ability to regulate against misconduct across the wider force?
Time and again, across the VAWG sector, we have called for more training, for more investment, for the police to work with specialist frontline organisations like Refuge, so they can better understand the dynamics of domestic abuse and so that officers can better understand the patterns of behaviours that perpetrators display. How can you prevent something you do not understand?
In this particular case, David Carrick was first reported to the police in 2001, before he even joined the force. He should never have passed intake vetting. There then followed a series of other complaints against him, including further incidents of domestic abuse. Sadly, as the CEO of the country’s largest specialist domestic abuse provider, it comes as no surprise to me that these incidents were dismissed as a ‘non-crimes’ and no action was taken. The first chances to stop this serial abuser were missed. If domestic abuse had been recognised and treated as the serious crime it is, how many of his later crimes could have been prevented?
Numerous other reports and complaints were made. Every single one of them should have raised the alarm. But none of them were taken seriously and no action was taken. Carrick was able to continue in post and was later issued with a licence to carry a firearm. Over the course of almost two decades, more and more brave women came forward to report crimes they allege were committed against them by Carrick. Those women were let down by the police and Carrick went on to abuse and harm more and more women, in ways which I cannot begin to comprehend.
What happens next must change the culture of policing for good. A force which breeds a culture of violent misogyny is not a force which can even begin to protect women and girls. Unless radical change to the way the policing system works across the country happens immediately, then women and girls will remain unsafe, and they will not have the confidence to come forward and report the violent crimes committed against them. Violence against women and girls has reached epidemic levels, and if the police cannot protect us from harm, then we must demand that they change the way in which they police violent men.
If you need support, Refuge is here for you. You can contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0808 2000 247, or via www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk. You are not alone.
Notes to editors:
- When reporting this case please signpost to Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline