One bad apple

Here’s a horrifying list of crimes committed, and admitted to, by one man in the UK.

24 counts of rape
nine counts of sexual assault
five counts of assault by penetration
three counts of coercive and controlling behaviour
three counts of false imprisonment
two counts of attempted rape
one count of attempted sexual assault by penetration
one count of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent
one count of indecent assault

That’s bad enough, but to make it worse, he was a police officer who used his privileges to run a little corrupt empire of violence and abuse.

Must be a case of “one bad apple,” right? Except that this villain, David Carrick, had been on the police force for over 20 years, and had a history of abusive behavior.

The Met has apologised after it emerged he had come to the attention of police over nine incidents, including rape allegations, between 2000 and 2021.

A senior officer said his offending was “unprecedented in policing”.

Oh, really? “Unprecedented”? His fellow officers knew about his reputation, and joked about it; they had formal complaints about his crimes spread over two decades. They did nothing. Now members of the police force are standing around, shrugging, claiming they had no idea this sort of thing was going on, hrumph.

Assistant Commissioner Barbara Gray, the Met’s lead for professionalism, said: “We should have spotted his pattern of abusive behaviour and because we didn’t, we missed opportunities to remove him from the organisation.

“We are truly sorry that being able to continue to use his role as a police officer may have prolonged the suffering of his victims.

Everyone else knew, though.

Harriet Wistrich, director of campaign group the Centre for Women’s Justice, said: “We have known for some time that there has been a culture of impunity for such offending by police officers.

“Recent reports show a woefully deficient vetting and misconduct system and a largely unchallenged culture of misogyny in some sections of the Met.

“That Carrick could have not only become a police officer but remain a serving officer for so long whilst he perpetrated these horrific crimes against women, is terrifying.”

A first step: fire every police officer who has been charged with domestic violence immediately. Just as a start.

Oops, there goes 40% of the police force. That’s a good start, but probably not Draconian enough. What else can you do when the whole barrel is rotten, to the point the staves are decaying?


  1. Dunc says

    Bear in mind that this is not just any a police officer, but an armed officer with the “elite” Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Unit who protect government ministers, and therefore subject to significant additional vetting. (Other notable alumni: PC Wayne Couzens, who raped and murdered Sarah Everard.)

    Colleagues knew him as “Bastard Dave”. The Met insists the reference was not because of his treatment of women, but because his workmates thought he could be cruel and mean.

    [How one woman’s act of bravery exposed Met officer’s abuse and police failures – trigger warning for, well, everything.]

  2. says

    The saying is, “One bad apple spoils the barrel.”

    Kinda the opposite of what the cop defenders think they’re saying — but much more accurate.

  3. mordred says

    Considering the magnitude of his crimes it’s ridiculous to believe the other officers didn’t know, including the superiors whose job it would have been to remove the stinking rotten apple.

    And then there’s people who tell me there’s no such thing as rape culture.

  4. Artor says

    Dammit, here I was, thinking that British cops were marginally better than American cops, and it was something uniquely broken about our culture that led to such endemic corruption. I guess Americans and Brits aren’t that different after all.

  5. Larry says

    Blue wall of silence strikes again.

    Do they even care how bad it makes the entire force look when things like this are exposed?

  6. Akira MacKenzie says

    24 counts of rape
    nine counts of sexual assault
    five counts of assault by penetration
    three counts of coercive and controlling behaviour
    three counts of false imprisonment
    two counts of attempted rape
    one count of attempted sexual assault by penetration
    one count of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent
    one count of indecent assault

    RW Asshole: “But how many dirtbags and thugs did he put away?”

  7. Akira MacKenzie says


    Do they even care how bad it makes the entire force look when things like this are exposed?

    Why should they care when there are millions of “We Back The Badge” yard signs and bumper stickers cheering on their brutality? As long as a significant portion of people are scared shitless of crime, there will be no reform.

  8. robro says

    Artor @ #4 — “British cops were marginally better than American cops”. I know what you mean. It’s a common perspective in the US. However, just recently I read in Wikipedia about the “Shooting of James Ashley” in England in 1998. The case sounds very similar to events in the US, although the similar US events mostly target at Black people.

  9. silvrhalide says

    “The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said he was “absolutely sickened and appalled” by Carrick’s crimes.
    He said “serious questions must be answered about how he was able to abuse his position as an officer in this horrendous manner”.
    In the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving Met officer, the force publicly proclaimed its commitment to protecting women and launched an “action plan” to try to regain trust.
    But it has now admitted its professional standards department made no attempt to check the full record of another officer accused of rape.
    The prime minister’s official spokesman said it was “an appalling case” and that Rishi Sunak’s “thoughts are with all of [Carrick’s] victims”.”

    Lemme help you out Sadiq.
    The officer in question was able to “get away with it” for so long because no one in the department had ANY interest in stopping the culture of rape and assault that seems endemic to the Metropolitan Police. David Carrick did not just get up one day and put “rape and assault a woman or several women today” on his to-do list. I guarantee you that there were early distant warning signals. Signals that you ignored, that the department ignored, that the vetting department ignored. Why? Because women are not a priority for you. OWN IT.

    Guarantee number two: Carrick and Wayne Couzens are not the only rapists you have on the rolls of your Metropolitan Police. You’re telling me that this asshole was a cop for 20 years and no one noticed this? BULLSHIT. The other Metropolitan Police officers called this guy “Bastard Dave”. THEY KNEW ALL RIGHT. They just chose to ignore it because there is clearly a culture of quid pro quo at work here, where dirty cops ignore other dirty cops’ crimes so they can continue unchecked with their own criminal activities. Just like former police officers Justin Volpe and Charles Schwartz in The 70th Precinct Brooklyn (NYC) precinct. (Warning: pretty much ALL the triggers.)
    There were early warnings about those two as well as a prior history of abuse in their professional careers as well but Rudy Giuliani was NYC mayor at the time and he made it clear that he had the police’s backs. It was not a good look on him when he was running for reelection. A record-setting police brutality lawsuit payout wasn’t a good look on the mayor, the police or NYC either.
    From the third link:
    “Louima eventually reached an $8.7 million settlement with the city, the largest individual payout for an NYPD brutality case. More than $1.6 million of that came from the police union, which took part in an attempted cover-up. The city got the union to end the so-called 48-hour rule, which gave officers two days to get their stories straight before talking to investigators. More recently — following a grand jury’s decision not to prosecute the officer who put Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold — Governor Andrew Cuomo enabled the state attorney general to act as an independent prosecutor in certain cases involving police attacks on civilians. It’s something Louima called for many years ago.”

    That’s something you might want to take out and examine carefully, Sadiq. Because as the London mayor, this shit is on you too.

    Oh, and in your newly-discovered reformist zeal, don’t overlook the professional standards department, which clearly is not professional and doesn’t have standards. Feel free to shit-can every single one of those enabling bastards and start fresh.

    Oh, and Sadiq? You will probably have to get rid of most or all of the Metropolitan Police, because normal people don’t want to hang around or work with sociopaths, torturers and rapists. The Metropolitan Police have been operating unchecked for a long time. Enough time for the normal people to flee for greener pastures or avoid the organization altogether. Not everyone at Abu Ghraib was a sadistic torturer but when the scandal finally broke, the rot ran pretty deep and the reason it ran so deep is because normal people realized that they couldn’t stop it, that reports of the abuse were ignored by those higher in the chain of command and that the only thing they could do was to leave. Their transfers were filled by other enlisteds, who in turn either fled… or found a comfy place of employment to their liking.
    But you can’t hide the scandal forever. Sooner or later, someone will report, someone will break the silence. Just like this guy:
    Joe Darby did the right thing, even knowing the cost.
    There is more than one Joe Darby out there.
    You can’t hide the scandal forever.

    One final thought: Stop sending out female spokespersons for the Metropolitan Police to perform public abasement and soft-pedal the crime. It’s a dick move and people see right through it. Start sending out the men in the department to explain the unexplainable and defend the indefensible. Let’s see if the departmental tolerance for police rapists runs quite so high when the guys have to choke on their own macho bullshit and endure the slings and arrows of public hatred and anger.

  10. jacksprocket says

    Also in the news, some antiracist activists finally cleared of wrongful convictions from over 50 years ago. The British police have been corrupt since Dixon of Dock Green, since they lied to hang Hanratty. Sus, stop and search (black and in a posh car? Whered’ya get that sonny? Let’s have a look up your arse…), misogyny- secret police luring women into relationships the better to spy on lefties- humiliation of women who rrport domestic abuse, sex assault, rape. Funny how almost any Black cop who achieves any sort of prominence ends up in disciplinary hearings if not worse. Kettling of lefty demos- Countryside Alliance and fascists get velvet glove treatment. Gleeful invention of “laws” restricting movement in lockdown. Top officers linked to organised crime. Crime? investigations? Boring, don’t turn up to take statements, much more fun shagging fruity hippie chicks.

    The endemic extreme right culture in police forces (not just the Met) soon drives out anyone with honest ideals about protecting the public. That’s why minorities and women are vastly underrepresemted. If you don’t like the banter, you can eff off, snowflake.

  11. billseymour says

    Off-topic, but losely connected to being a jerk, and I’m guessing that some lurker on Pharyngula can answer:

    Is it offensive if a non-Australian calls Australia “Oz” (like a white person using the “N word”)?  I certainly wouldn’t want to do that if it is.

  12. gijoel says

    @12 No, non Ozzies can call Australia Oz, that’s not offensive. There are N-word equivalents in Australian vernacular, but they refer to Aboriginals, and in some cases Aboriginal women, specifically. I am not going to repeat them here, or anywhere else.

  13. StevoR says

    @billseymour : Nope . No problem here, Oz is just a shorter name / nickname for Australia matching our rponunication. Aussie typing here.

  14. KG says

    What else can you do when the whole barrel is rotten, to the point the staves are decaying?

    I’ve suggested elsewhere (and under another nym) obliging all Met officers to reapply for their jobs, with any evidence of racist or misogyist actions or attitudes – or of knowing about such actions or attitudes in other officers and failing to report them – meaning a permanent ban on any police or similar job. But then the problem is – who carries out the vetting? The so-called “Independent Office for Police Conduct” has announced that it is not planning any enquiry into how Carrick was able to join, remain in, and be promoted in the force. Its head recently had to step down because he’s under investigation for sex with a minor. The HMICFRS (His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services) is largely staffed and led by ex-police. In any case, neither of these bodies has the staff or expertise to carry out such a mass-vetting. Basically, the Met is London’s largest and most powerful criminal gang, and it’s not clear anything short of a revolution can break its grip.

    My impression, BTW, is that while other police forces in the UK have plenty of racists and misogynists, the Met is uniquely vile – but I admit this is only an impression.

  15. velociraptor says

    “A first step: fire every police officer who has been charged with domestic violence immediately.”


  16. says

    40% is a very low estimate based on self-reporting. That is, it’s 40% of police who admit to domestic violence. The actual number of police who engage in DV is much, much higher.