We stand with all the women who have come forward to report David Carrick's abhorrent crimes and all the women who have been subjected to violence and abuse by those in positions of power.
Survivors come forward in the hope that their reports will lead to convictions or, at the very least, that they and others will be protected from further harm. It is gut wrenching to know that they were ignored, their experiences diminished and minimised while the Met continued to allow Carrick to move up their ranks to serve at an institution at the heart of our democracy. He abused his position, hiding in plain sight.
Wayne Couzens and David Carrick are just two of the serving police officers that we know about who have demonstrated a pattern of escalating misogyny, violence, and abuse. As specialists working with thousands of women subjected to abuse and violence, it can feel unbelievable that opportunities to stop these men were missed when the warning signs were so clear, yet we are not surprised. We support many victims whose accounts have been dismissed whilst perpetrators are able to groom others around them even when evidence mounts against them. We know that abusers can be plausible and charming, and many manipulate those around them, including family members and professionals.
In the case of David Carrick evidence provided by the victims was considered in isolation and there were failures in police vetting systems. This has to stop. Across every police force we want to see tangible changes. We call for:
- Safe avenues for reporting and independent support for victims
- Investigations that are not solely reliant on victims’ testimony
- Independent, victim-centred investigations
- Enhanced police vetting systems and;
- A requirement for police officers to report concerns about their colleagues’ attitudes, behaviour or actions where they fall short of the police Code of Conduct.
The police have a duty to listen, to believe and to act with rigour, relentlessness, and resolve, rooting out offenders within their ranks and in our communities. The majority are doing just this. We work with police officers every day who are appalled by the behaviours of Carrick and by the colleagues around him who turned a blind eye to his behaviour. It is these officers who can help bring about the change that is needed. For change to happen it requires effective leadership and the commitment and dedication of the many honest police officers who are proud to serve the public.
This week Lauren Poultney, Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, sent a reflective letter to her teams and colleagues across the sector saying: “I don’t want one criminal officer to represent me as a police officer but equally I don’t want the failings of one force to represent a service. It’s on each and every one of us to ensure it doesn’t.”
We agree Lauren; it is time for each and every officer to rise to the challenge and to help root out the behaviours that undermine the very core of the Force.
We can’t wait for these institutions to reform; we must all act in whatever way we can. There are many simple things that we can all do. You can donate, you can challenge and you can campaign. You can help us transform the systems set up to protect us all. Register your interest in becoming an IDAS Champion today.