Nearly Half of Women Say Carrick Case has Changed their Confidence in Police
A new poll by Omnisis for Byline Times reveals the impact of serial rapist and Met Police officer David Carrick’s guilty plea on women’s trust in policing
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Nearly half of women say the revelations that a serving Metropolitan Police officer is one of the UK’s most prolific sex offenders has changed how confident they would feel reporting a crime, according to a new poll commissioned by Byline Times.
David Carrick pled guilty to 85 serious offences including 48 rapes of women over a period spanning nearly two decades. It’s understood the Met missed nine opportunities to act on allegations about his behaviour towards women. He was also accused of coercive control and domestic abuse.
Carrick was sacked from the Met earlier this month. On 30 January, another Met Police officer was sacked after pleading guilty to falsely imprisoning and assaulting a woman.
Responding to the question “has the case of the police officer, David Carrick, who recently pleaded guilty to multiple counts of rape, changed how confident you would feel reporting a crime to the police”, 47% of women surveyed by pollsters Omnisis said “yes”.
More than half of young people (18 to 24 year olds) said that the case had changed how confident they would feel reporting a crime to the police, with 42% of 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 year olds reporting the same.
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Just under half (49%) of people surveyed who live in the south-east said Carrick’s guilty plea had changed their confidence levels in reporting a crime – potentially indicative of the fact that Carrick was serving in police forces in London and Hertfordshire.
The majority of women surveyed said they would still report a crime to the police and would advise a woman to report a sexual offence to the police. This suggests that, while confidence has been knocked, most would still report.
Labour voters appeared to be the least trusting of the police, with 16% saying they would not feel comfortable reporting a crime.
Violence in Policing
The arrest and subsequent guilty plea of David Carrick is the latest in a long line of scandals to rock the Metropolitan Police, as it struggles to rebuild trust with women victims and survivors of male violence.
Carrick served on the same unit as Wayne Couzens, who in March 2021 raped and murdered Sarah Everard. In the wake of the horrific killing, the Met suggested that women who felt unsafe on the streets should hail down passing buses or knock on strangers’ doors and ask for help.
Everard’s murder followed the revelations that serving Met officers had taken photos and shared inappropriate jokes about the murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, having already been accused of failing to respond to reports that the two women were missing in a timely manner. The two officers were eventually sentenced to custodial sentences.
But such activity was not a one-off. Officers working in the Charing Cross branch of the police force were found to have used WhatsApp to send misogynistic and racist messages, including so-called jokes about domestic abuse.
In the wake of Everard’s murder, this newspaper revealed how more than half of Met officers found guilty of sexual misconduct remained in their jobs. Now the Met has announced it is reopening more than 1,000 cases of gender-based violence allegations against their officers.
Last week, the Met’s Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley told the London Assembly committee on crime and policing that there are two to three officers in criminal courts each week.
But the crisis in policing goes beyond violence within the Met’s ranks.
More than 80,000 women are raped in England and Wales every year, but prosecution rates are only 1.6%, leading campaigners to warn that sexual violence has been effectively decriminalised.
While reports of domestic abuse have doubled since 2015, charges have halved: the police recorded 910,980 reports in 2021-2022 but only 43,836 were charged.
“Taking Carrick’s case, women did report but were ignored because it was domestic abuse and he was an officer,” Jamie Klingler, who has campaigned on issues of violence against women and is one of the founders of the Reclaim These Streets movement, told Byline Times.
Reclaim These Streets fought a court battle with the Metropolitan Police over its decision to ban a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard. “Our phones and notes of our therapy and trauma can be used against us, and then we can get sued and ridiculed, for a 1.6% chance of a prosecution,” she added. “Within this system it is very hard not to see that as pointless.”
The poll surveyed 1,257 people about their attitudes towards policing in the wake of the Carrick plea – 646 of respondents were women and 611 male.