The police watchdog has launched four separate investigations into the Metropolitan Police’s handling of reports about former officer and serial rapist David Carrick.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it is employing a “rarely-used power” to simultaneously launch probes into whether Met officers and staff repeatedly failed to take appropriate action in response to serious criminal allegations against Carrick.
It comes after a review by the Met into its handling of the reports did not find there were any conduct issues.
The IOPC said: “We have taken this unusual step after being concerned the MPS [Metropolitan Police Service] did not identify any conduct matters at the conclusion of a review we asked it to undertake last year, into any reports which could have led to action being taken against Carrick sooner.”
Its own review, which started in February 2023, following a request from the Met, found there was enough evidence to begin four separate investigations into the conduct of eight Met officers and one staff member.
Some of the officers involved have since retired and one now works for another force.
They range in rank from police constable to chief inspector. Six of the people being investigated were, at the time, from the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards.
One of the investigations will look at a 2002 allegation of harassment made against Carrick by a former partner. The allegation was investigated by the Met but no referral was made to its Department of Professional Standards (DPS) – which investigates the conduct of officers and staff – and Carrick was only spoken to by his line manager.
Carrick was a probationary constable at the time the allegation was made and, if subject to a disciplinary investigation at that time, he potentially could have been removed from the force and stripped of his status as a police officer, the IOPC said.
IOPC regional director Mel Palmer said Carrick’s offending was “horrendous”, “shocked the public and cast a dark shadow on policing”.
Ms Palmer added: “The police forces did not record any conduct matters arising from their handling of allegations against Carrick, however we identified indications some officers may have behaved in a manner which would justify disciplinary proceedings.
“Our review has identified repeated failures to progress conduct investigations when the Met’s DPS officers were advised that no further action was being taken by the forces carrying out the criminal investigations into Carrick.”
The Met said it was “truly sorry” for the harm and suffering Carrick caused his victims, adding he should never have been a police officer.
In a statement it said: “We have acknowledged that serious flaws in our approach meant we did not spot his pattern of abusive behaviour and as a result, we missed opportunities to pursue him through the misconduct process. We deeply regret this.”
It added that it will provide every assistance to the IOPC as it carries out its investigations.
Carrick was given 36 life sentences in February after he pleaded guilty to 49 charges against 12 women over an 18-year period, including 24 counts of rape, nine counts of sexual assault and three counts of false imprisonment.
He was sacked from the Met in January after submitting his guilty pleas.