London Police Officer Charged With Rape Amid Trust Crisis
LONDON — A London police officer was arrested and charged with rape on Sunday, just days after another officer was sentenced for the killing of Sarah Everard in a case that deeply shook public trust in the service.
The officer charged on Sunday, David Carrick, 46, was working in the same unit of the police force that Wayne Couzens, Ms. Everard’s killer, was assigned to at the time of her attack.
Mr. Carrick was charged in Hertfordshire, an area north of London, with rape. He was off-duty in that area at the time of the alleged attack, according to a statement from the London Metropolitan Police Service. He was suspended from his duties as an officer, the statement said, and a referral had been made to an independent office that monitors police conduct.
The alleged attack occurred in September 2020, according to the Hertfordshire Police.
The arrest comes as London’s police force faces renewed scrutiny and a torrent of criticism over its handling of violence against women, following a number of high-profile cases, including the murder of Ms. Everard.
During last week’s sentencing hearing for Mr. Couzens, harrowing new details emerged about the way he used his position of authority and police equipment to falsely arrest Ms. Everard before abducting, raping and killing her. The police force has also faced criticism for failing to respond to previous allegations of sexual misconduct against Mr. Couzens.
Watchdog groups have called for a public inquiry into the police department’s approach to violence against women and the behavior of its own officers, and there were renewed calls last week for the resignation of Cressida Dick, the head of the Metropolitan Police.
Mr. Carrick, who will appear by video in court on Monday, is part of the same parliamentary and diplomatic protection command of the Metropolitan Police as Mr. Couzens. The unit’s responsibilities include protecting the Houses of Parliament and foreign embassies, and it also provides officers to safeguard government ministers.
Ms. Dick said in a statement that she was “deeply concerned” about the news of Mr. Carrick’s arrest.
“I fully recognize the public will be very concerned too,” she added.
Last week, the police issued a series of safety tips for women should they encounter an officer, or someone posing as one, whom they considered to be a threat. The guidance included asking the officer “searching” questions, running into a nearby home or flagging down a bus.
The advice was accompanied by a list of other measures that the police had taken or planned to take after Ms. Everard’s killing, but many critics said they did little to address the internal failings of the police to hold their own to account and combat violence against women more broadly.