Campaigners have called the Metropolitan Police an "institution in crisis" after it emerged it failed to sack an officer despite allegations of rape, domestic violence and harassment allegations over two decades.
The force apologised to victims on Monday after PC David Carrick, 48, admitted 49 offences, including 24 counts of rape, after carrying out sex attacks on 12 women over an 18-year period.
He had come to the attention of police over nine incidents including allegations of rape, domestic violence and harassment, between 2000 and 2021.
Carrick, nicknamed "Bastard Dave" by colleagues because he was "mean and cruel", joined the force in 2001 before becoming an armed officer with the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command in 2009.
But he faced no criminal sanctions or misconduct findings and was only suspended after being arrested over a second rape complaint in October 2021.
Watch: Metropolitan Police 'truly sorry for 'clear failure' in David Carrick case
He appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Monday to plead guilty to four counts of rape, false imprisonment and indecent assault, relating to a 40-year-old woman in 2003.
In December at the Old Bailey, Carrick, who had served in the army before joining the Met in 2001, admitted 43 charges against 11 other women, including 20 counts of rape, between March 2004 and September 2020.
London mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: "I am absolutely sickened by the truly abhorrent offences that David Carrick has committed.
"Serious questions must be answered about how he was able to abuse his position as an officer."
Assistant Commissioner Barbara Gray, the Metropolitan Police's lead for professionalism, said: "We should have spotted his pattern of abusive behaviour and because we didn't, we missed opportunities to remove him from the organisation."
"We are truly sorry that being able to continue to use his role as a police officer may have prolonged the suffering of his victims.
"He used the fact he was a police officer to control and coerce his victims. We know they felt unable to come forward sooner because he told them they would not be believed.
“What we are responsible for, and I truly apologise for, is that we have failed to identify the abusive behaviours that he has conducted over a long, long period of time.
“We are truly sorry that he was not identified earlier, that victims felt that they couldn’t come forward earlier, and we have to bear that responsibility that he continued then to use his position as a police officer to exploit and manipulate and carry out his predatory behaviours.”
The End Violence Against Women (EVAW) Coalition said of the Metropolitan Police: "This is an institution in crisis. That Carrick's pattern of egregious behaviour was known to the Met and they failed to act speaks more loudly than their empty promises to women."
The Women's Equality Party said: "They knew. The Met knew about the allegations for 20 years. They did nothing as a serial rapist abused his power. They are complicit."
The prime minister's official spokesman said: "This is an appalling case and the prime minister’s thoughts are with all of his victims.
"There is no place in our police forces for officers who fall so seriously short of the acceptable standards of behaviour and are not fit to wear the uniform.
“Police forces must root out these officers to restore the public’s trust, which has been shattered by high-profile events such as this."
Carrick denied a further count of rape in September 2020 relating to a 13th woman, and the Crown Prosecution Service decided it was not in the public interest to proceed to trial on that charge.
Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb said she will sentence Carrick over two days from 6 February.
In total, Carrick, from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, has pleaded guilty to 49 offences, relating to 12 women between 2003 and 2020.
They are 24 counts of rape; nine counts of sexual assault; five counts of assault by penetration; three counts of coercive and controlling behaviour; three counts of false imprisonment; two counts of attempted rape; one count of attempted sexual assault by penetration; one count of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent and one count of indecent assault.
They include the rape of nine different women, but some of the charges are multiple incident counts, meaning they relate to more than 80 sexual offences, including at least 48 rapes.
Detective Chief Inspector Iain Moor, from Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, said the “sheer number of offences” showed Carrick’s “prolific and callous nature” and he expects even more victims to come forward.
Carrick met some of the women through online dating sites such as Tinder and Badoo or on social occasions, using his position as a police officer to gain their trust.
“Whilst he was not a man that stalked the streets scouting for victims – he invested time in developing relationships with women to sustain his appetite for degradation and control – the coercive nature of his offending undermined his victims in the most destructive way,” said Moor.
Carrick admitted raping nine of the women, some on multiple occasions over months or years, with many of those attacks involving violence that would have left them physically injured.
Some were locked in a small cupboard under the stairs in his Hertfordshire home for hours without food or forced to clean his house naked.
Carrick whipped one woman with a belt, urinated on some of his victims, and told them when they could eat and sleep.
He called women “fat and lazy” or his “slave” as he controlled them financially, isolated them from friends and family, and forbade them from speaking with other men or even their own children.
Chief Crown prosecutor Jaswant Narwal said the degradation Carrick caused his victims was unlike anything she had seen in her career.
She said: “This is one of the most shocking cases the Crown Prosecution Service has dealt with involving a serving police officer.
“Anyone hearing of the 49 counts David Carrick has pleaded guilty to against 12 victims would agree the sheer magnitude of his offending is horrifying.
“This is a man who relentlessly degraded, belittled, sexually assaulted and raped women."
Carrick was accused of harassment and assault against a former partner while still in his probationary period in 2002 but the matter was not referred to the Directorate of Professional Standards.
He was the subject of five complaints from members of the public between 2002 and 2008, including rudeness, incivility and the use of force, with two of the incidents dealt with by management action.
Carrick passed checks to become a firearms officer in 2009 despite at least one further domestic incident involving the Met in 2004 and was re-vetted in 2017 – the same year he was spoken to by Thames Valley Police officers after being thrown out of a Reading nightclub while drunk.
By then he had also been the suspect in a 2016 Hampshire Police investigation following an allegation of harassment but he was not arrested.
The PC was given “words of advice” after being accused of grabbing a woman by the neck during a domestic incident investigated by Hertfordshire Constabulary in 2019 over informing his chain of command about off-duty incidents but found to have no misconduct case to answer.
He was placed on restricted duties after he was arrested on suspicion of rape in July 2021 but the restrictions were lifted after the criminal probe was dropped in September.
Carrick has now admitted two charges of rape, two of sexual assault and one count of controlling and coercive behaviour in relation to the woman.
However, Carrick never returned to full duties because he was arrested over another rape allegation in October after another woman came forward.
The investigation prompted another dozen women to make allegations against Carrick, many of whom said they had been scared to speak out because of his position.
Watch: Met Police officer admits sex attacks against 12 women