In this article, I will cover a case about rape and sexual assault. The content covered may be triggering. Reader’s discretion is advised.
This disturbing case has shocked a lot of people in Britain. It has also raised a lot of questions regarding how police officers were checked for their wrongdoings.
First, what is the case about?
Carrick was a metropolitan police officer. For over twenty years, he has been abusing, assaulting, and raping women. During his trial, twelve women accused the man of many crimes. Carrick admitted to nearly 56 of them.
He used his power as a met officer to abuse women since nobody will believe them because he was a police officer.
What the media and the police are trying to understand now is how did Carrick get away with it?
According to sources, he had been on the metropolitan police radar nine times before he eventually got arrested in 2021.
For example, records of his abuse were made in 2001, 2009, and 2016. He was involved in a case about domestic assault in 2016 and then, the case got closed, and Carrick was not charged.
The ex-met officer was also investigated in 2001 and 2017 but he passed both times.
After his arrest, the met police apologized for it and recognised that they should have arrested him and dismissed him sooner considering the recurring pattern of his behaviour.
Carrick pleaded guilty in mid-January 2023 and was sentenced to life for his crime.
This tragic case echoes the murder of Sarah Everard, a young woman killed in March 2021 by another officer of the met police.
At that time, Government had declared that it was reviewing the way abusive police officers were being dismissed from the force.
A few months later, in October 2021, Carrick another officer from the met police was arrested for several rapes and assaults on women.
The End Violence Against Women director, Andrea Simon commented on the case and argued that it would discourage women and damage their trust in policing.
She also said that “the police does not have systems in place to deal with misconduct that they are not taking reports of things like domestic abuse, harassment seriously enough”.
In her opinion, the main issue is that there is a “problem with misogyny within the police force. This culture of misogyny enables perpetrators to exist in plain sight”.
Not only the system is flawed but too many officers seem to turn a blind eye when one of those problematic situations occurs.
One way to avoid cases like Carrick’s to happen again is the “need to improve the way we investigate violence and domestic abuse”.
When asked about this case, Donna Jones, Police & Crime Commissioner, Hampshire & the Isle of Wight said that one way to resolve this issue was to split up the met police because it was too large and would allow perpetrators to remain unnoticeable.
What does that mean in terms of credibility for the victims? Is the law doing enough? Are victims able to seek justice?
When you are a victim of rape or sexual assault, it is difficult, and it takes a lot of courage to be able to tell people and even report it to authorities. This is why data regarding sexual assault or rape is usually underreported .
Victims also fear that the authorities they seek help from will not believe them and may shame them for what happened which is extremely unfair. Even if nowadays more and more sexual assaults are being reported to the police, not that many end up going to court.
The issue comes from the fact that while reporting an assault, victims must give authorities much information from their social media records to their social services and medical records which could undermine their privacy.
This data is then processed to determine whether the victim would have enough credibility to move their case forward.
This whole process seems quite ironic when victims are asked to go under so much scrutiny while the rapist has great chances to get away with what they have done.
The whole process can and is very exhausting to victims, hence furthering their lack of belief in the justice legal system.
To give you an example, in 2022, only 2616 rapes recorded by the police resulted in a charge the same year. This is extremely low considering that by September 2022, 70633 rapes and sexual assaults were recorded by the police.
Rape victims are still being failed when all is needed is real accountability.
Here are resources that you can use if you are a victim of assault or abuse of any kind or if you know someone who is being abused:
At the University of Essex:
In the UK/online:
Please note that this is a non-exhaustive list and that you can find many other resources as well as complementary information online.