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139 Met officers reinvestigated for rape and sexual abuse after being allowed to keep jobs

2 January 2024, 07:40

139 police officers are being reinvestigated for sexual abuse and rape after being allowed to keep jobs
139 police officers are being reinvestigated for sexual abuse and rape after being allowed to keep jobs. Picture: Alamy
Charlotte Lynch

By Charlotte Lynch

LBC can reveal 139 Metropolitan police officers and staff are being reinvestigated for rape and sexual abuse after they were initially allowed to keep their jobs.

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Their cases have been reopened as part of a review which was prompted by the conviction of serial rapist David Carrick, who attacked 12 women whilst serving with the force over 17 years.

Some 28 of those are facing more than one allegation, with one officer accused of eight counts of sexual assault. Another is being investigated for three counts of rape and one count of sexual assault by penetration.

It has prompted fresh fears over the number of suspected predators who have been allowed to remain in the force. Last year the Met apologised and admitted PC David Carrick should have been sacked earlier, after it emerged they were aware of allegations against him including rape, assault and harassment from 2002. He remained a serving officer until his arrest in 2021.

The Met now believes it could have missed opportunities to kick out 139 officers and staff accused of rape and sexual abuse, and has reopened their cases under Operation Onyx.

Read more: It will take 'up to three years’ to clear Met of corrupt police officers, says Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley

Read more: Rapist cop David Carrick handed 36 life sentences as judge describes 'trail of devastation' suffered by his 12 victims

'Up to three years’ to rid the Met of corrupt police officers says Sir Mark Rowley

Labour’s Shadow Safeguarding Minister Alex Davies-Jones said the figures were “genuinely shocking” and called on the government to speed up the introduction of new powers which will make it easier for rogue officers to be sacked. The measures, announced in August last year, are expected to become law from April.

The MP for Pontypridd said: "Clearly there are a range of issues preventing real change when it comes to tackling the scale of the problem with violence against women and girls within the police service, whether that's cultural issues with vetting, systems, attitudes - the Home Office have a responsibility here and they must do better.

"We need urgent change because women and girls are being let down", she said.

Responding to the findings, the Home Secretary suggested the officers should be removed from the force and said he was "absolutely determined" to ensure the highest standards of policing across the country.

James Cleverly said the "vast, vast majority of British police officers are doing the right thing for the right reasons", but stressed those who's behaviour is "inappropriate" will be ejected from their roles.

Nick Ferrari puts Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley on the spot about the future of the Met Police

Mr Cleverly told LBC: "Through the Criminal Justice Bill we are going to give Chief Constables enhanced powers to remove officers like the ones you've described. The bill will give those Chief Constables the ability to really take a proper leadership role and eject bad officers.

"Professionalism in policing and the confidence in the professionalism of policing is absolutely key, and we are determined as a government to make sure we put structures in place to reinforce that."

The Operation Onyx team reviewed previously finalised cases of domestic and sexual abuse allegations made against Metropolitan Police employees between April 2012 - April 2022.

They checked 1,418 officers and 218 staff for missed investigative opportunities, which resulted in 139 live rape and sexual abuse investigations now being dealt with by the Domestic Abuse and Sexual Offences team.

LBC understands the force will give an update in the coming weeks on the progress being made in the investigations, but Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has previously warned the process could take years, with a backlog of more than 300 misconduct cases.

Sir Mark has also expressed his frustration at red tape meaning he cannot sack criminals in his own force without going through a lengthy and bureaucratic disciplinary process.

A spokesperson for the Met said: "Significant steps have been taken to root out the hundreds of officers who have corrupted our integrity as we tackle systemic issues that allowed them to endure. This is the strongest doubling down on standards in 50 years.

"The Commissioner has been entirely open about the work needed, and accountable for the work being done, in order to achieve the aim of increasing trust and raising standards in the Met."

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