As women’s safety concerns mount, UK officer charged with rape

David Carrick, 46, is based in the same branch of the Metropolitan Police service as Sarah Everard’s murderer.

The rape case comes as the Met faces heavy criticism over its record on women's safety [File: Andy Rain/EPA]

A police officer in the United Kingdom based in the same unit as Sarah Everard’s killer has been charged with rape, a development which comes as concerns mount over women’s safety in the country.

David Carrick, 46, was charged by police on Sunday following his arrest a day earlier, London’s Metropolitan Police (Met) service said in a statement.

Carrick, who serves in the Met’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, was off-duty at the time in Hertfordshire, a county bordering the capital.

He was suspended by the Metropolitan Police following his arrest and remanded in custody after appearing in court on Monday.

Carrick is accused of one count of rape following an alleged attack on a woman on the night of September 4, 2020. He is expected to appear in court again on November 1.

Carrick’s case comes after Wayne Couzens was last week sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for the kidnap, rape and murder of Everard in March.

Couzens was part of the Met’s elite diplomatic protection unit at the time of her killing. He was dismissed in July after pleading guilty to her murder.

At Couzens’ two-day sentencing, London’s Central Criminal Court heard how he had abducted Everard after falsely arresting her on the pretext of breaking COVID-19 lockdown rules. Couzens later raped and killed Everard, before burning her body.

Everard’s case shocked the UK and led to a national conversation over women’s safety.

Women, critics and campaigners have called for major reforms in how police officers are vetted and how crimes against women are dealt with. Some have also called for Met chief Cressida Dick to resign.

Speaking about Sunday’s rape charge, Dick said she was “deeply concerned” by the development.

“I fully recognise the public will be very concerned too,” she said in a statement. “Criminal proceedings must now take their course so I am unable to comment any further at this stage.”

Her comments came after the Met took the extraordinary step in the wake of Couzens’ sentencing of advising the public to flag down a bus or, as a last resort, run away from a police officer if they suspect him of behaving unlawfully.

Critics denounced the advice as tone deaf.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies