Britain's largest police force has faced withering criticism for its working culture after a number of high-profile scandals / © AFP/File
A UK judge on Tuesday sentenced a former policeman to life in jail, with a minimum term of 30 years, for dozens of rapes and sexual assaults in the latest case to shame London's Metropolitan Police force.
Judge Bobbie Cheema-Grubb handed David Carrick 36 life sentences for a "monstrous" string of 71 sexual offences against 12 women.
She said Carrick, whose crimes included 48 rapes, represented a "grave danger to women" which would "last indefinitely".
Carrick, 48, a long-serving officer, will serve three decades behind bars before he can be considered for parole.
The case comes as the Met has vowed to end a culture of misogyny and lax vetting highlighted by the rape and murder of a young woman who was snatched off the street by a serving police officer in March 2021.
Anger and distrust towards the police has mounted since the murder of Londoner Sarah Everard during the pandemic by Wayne Couzens who has been sentenced to spend the rest of his life in jail.
Carrick and Couzens served in the same armed unit protecting MPs and foreign diplomats.
Cheema-Grubb said Carrick had "brazenly raped and sexually assaulted" his victims, believing himself to be "untouchable" due to his position which afforded him "exceptional powers to coerce and control".
Only a sentence of life imprisonment could reflect "the gravity" of his crimes, she added.
Since the crimes of Carrick and Couzens were uncovered, a string of other cases involving police officers have also come to light.
Police had records of multiple complaints and allegations involving Carrick's behaviour / © AFP
Earlier, prosecutor Tom Little told the court how Carrick used his status as a police officer to initially reassure women and begin relationships, before subjecting them to "a catalogue of violent and brutal sexual offences".
He told the court on Monday that Carrick "frequently relied on his charm to beguile and mislead the victims... and would then use his power and control, in part because of what he did for a living, to stop them leaving or consider reporting him".
Carrick often humiliated the women, including locking them naked in a small cupboard, urinating on them and whipping them.
In statements read out by the prosecutor in court, his victims said they felt "trapped" by him and "don't trust the police any more".
The police had records of multiple complaints and allegations involving Carrick's behaviour but he never faced a disciplinary hearing.
- 'Must do better' -
Carrick was sacked from the police only last month after pleading guilty in court.
Interior Minister Suella Braverman said Monday that it was "clear that policing must do better".
Carrick, who was brought to the court by prison van, subjected his victims to 'a catalogue of violent and brutal sexual offences' / © AFP
Braverman said she had asked police forces to strengthen vetting, adding that "standards need to rise so that cases like these... become a thing of the past".
The Met, Britain's biggest force, has apologised for failing to act on the prior allegations levelled against Carrick.
The force's Assistant Commissioner Barbara Gray said ahead of the sentencing that "we failed to identify a man in the ranks... who carried out the most awful offences".
"He should not have been a police officer," she added.
Mock rotten apples outside Scotland Yard in protest over officers being investigated for violence against women / © AFP
The force admitted last month that on average two to three officers faced criminal charges in court every week.
The Met has responded to Carrick's case by setting up an investigative team to target staff suspected of domestic abuse or sexual offences.
It is reviewing all current officers and staff who have faced such allegations that did not result in charges or misconduct hearings.