Rapist Met PC wasn’t included in search for rogue officers as campaigners call on force to expand cleanup efforts

25 February 2024, 06:47 | Updated: 25 February 2024, 08:42

Met Police urged to expand deep dive for rogue officers after multiple rape and kidnap conviction for cop
Met Police urged to expand deep dive for rogue officers after multiple rape and kidnap conviction for cop. Picture: Alamy
Fraser Knight.

By Fraser Knight.

The Metropolitan Police is facing calls to expand its operation to re-examine past allegations of sexual or domestic abuse made against serving officers and staff.

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Operation Onyx, as it was called, started after serving PC David Carrick was unmasked as a prolific rapist, just months after his colleague Wayne Couzens kidnapped and murdered Sarah Everard, but LBC understands that the operation didn’t look at allegations made before employees started at the force.

This week, another PC - who was dismissed in December - was convicted of 13 counts of rape, including three against a child under the age of 13 but his name wasn’t raised during Operation Onyx despite him being investigated in 2017.

Cliff Mitchell joined the Met in 2021 after no further action was taken against him at the time.

After using his warrant card to then attack another woman, raping her at knifepoint and bundling her into his car, the 2017 investigation was reopened and found he should have been charged with six rape offences, including those against a child.

He was found guilty of them at Croydon Crown Court on Wednesday February 21.

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Jamie Klingler, women's rights campaigner and co-founder of Reclaim These Streets, told LBC she sees the proactive steps by the Met to root out rogue officers as nothing more than “shoving a lot of paper around”.

“Women I’ve talked to that tried to report something were given technicalities of why their case didn’t count and didn’t meet the criteria of Onyx,” she said.

“I worry that if the police mark other police homework, there’s going to be a lot of things that don’t meet a threshold that would meet a common threshold for decency and non-violence against women.

“What I want is a force free of rapists and men that hate women, beat women and abuse their power over women. I don’t think that’s too much to ask but apparently if you can get any loopholes in there, any way that you can say this isn’t our fault and we can keep these men on the force and maintain their reputations - why is their life and their livelihood worth more than mine?

“Every time one of these stories comes out and you don’t think it can get any worse, it gets worse and worse.”

Scotland Yard insists it is doing “more than we have in decades to rid the Met of those who corrupt our integrity”.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said: “Cliff Mitchell not only carried out a sustained campaign of abuse against both of his victims, but he told one of them she would never be believed due to the fact he was a police officer.

“I know this is another case which will impact the confidence people have in us, but we’re doing more… including investing millions of pounds into our professional standards team and bringing in additional officers and staff with specialist skills and experience to investigate criminality and misconduct.”

Operation Onyx initially found 689 previously completed cases where there may have been new or missed lines of enquiry and 196 where officers or staff needed urgent risk assessments or vetting reviews.

But the revelation that claims of sexual assault made before officers and staff joined the force weren’t included in the record search has raised questions about the effectiveness of the system.

Shabnam Chaudri, former detective superintendent at the Metropolitan Police, told LBC: “They seriously need to consider now the kind of allegations that have been made against those officers, the intelligence and information against them.

“There needs to be an overhaul and a review of every officer where there’s been some form of intelligence on them, particularly when you’re talking about sexual allegations.

“An expansion of Operation Onyx has got to be supported and the Met has got to look at previous allegations - they’ve looked at convictions - but they need to look at allegations and intelligence because I would suspect that there will be a number of other officers that sit there and have displayed the kind of behaviours that Cliff Mitchell has.”

The Mayor of London effectively sacked the previous Commissioner Cressida Dick before agreeing to the new boss Sir Mark Rowley taking over control of the Met to help turn its standards around.

Reacting to the calls for an expansion of Operation Onyx, he said: “It’s far too easy to become a police officer and far too difficult to get rid of bad officers.

“We’re going to look into how Cliff Mitchell was allowed in, he was never fit to become a police officer and should never have been allowed in. We’re going to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“The police service across the country needs better systems to root out those people who aren’t fit to wear a uniform.”

Scotland Yard says vetting procedures have now been strengthened, with a spokesperson saying: “We have changed our approach and are confident that under our reformed approach, Cliff Mitchell would not be granted vetting clearance and be able to join the Met.”

A report is also due to be published in the coming days looking at lessons that should be learned from the cases of Wayne Couzens and David Carrick.

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