London Metropolitan police officers turned up to work this morning to find over one thousand rotten apples dumped outside Scotland Yard.

The protest, against the culture of “violent misogyny within the police force,” was staged by Refuge, a British domestic abuse charity. 

The question is how many more bad apples are still lurking inside the building. According to critics, there are many thousands more in London but also throughout the country. Indeed, some claim that all the UK’s police services need root and branch reform and that the only way to clean out – and restore public trust – in the police force, is for a Royal Commission to be set up to investigate the Met as well as the national police service.

Critics also claim that scandals in many other cities – particularly grooming in Rotherham and Telford – took place knowingly under the passive eye of the local police forces.

Refuge’s offering was left after the Met admitted on Tuesday that over 1,000 of its officers and staff remain in service despite being accused of sexual offences or domestic abuse. The force says it is investigating these cases.

Just hours before the announcement, 48-year-old David Carrick, a firearms officer in the Met’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, was revealed to be one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders, pleading guilty to 49 sex offences, including 24 counts of rape.

There are glaring similarities between his case and that of former Met officer Wayne Couzens, who kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard in 2021. Both had workplace nicknames, suggesting their unsavoury character was an open secret within the force: Couzens, known as “the rapist” amongst former colleagues, and Carrick, referred to as “Bastard Dave”. Both had former complaints launched against them go uninvestigated (including rape allegations in the case of Carrick), and both exploited their position as Met officers to prey on women, flashing their police cards to gain their trust.

Carrick and Couzens are far from just two bad apples.

A string of scandals has emerged since the murder of Sarah Everard, including the jailing of two male Met constables who shared photos of murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman on WhatsApp as well as a damning report into the culture of misogyny in the Charing Cross police station, which found one male officer joking to a female colleague on the work WhatsApp group: “I would happily rape you.”

This week, two retired Met officers have been charged with child sex offences, while the third – a serving chief inspector – who was also accused of being part of the police paedophile ring, was found dead in his home on the day he was due to answer bail. 

What’s more, a 2021 Bureau of Investigative Journalism investigation revealed through Freedom of Information requests that, in the three years to 2018, there had been nearly 700 reports of domestic abuse by Met officers – averaging more than four a week. Less than one in ten reports resulted in a dismissal or warning. During the investigation, women who had suffered abuse at the hands of officers spoke to the BIJ about their failure to get justice, after other police officers actively protected their partners. 

Since then, accounts have emerged from women inside the force heightening concerns about a culture of impunity within the Met. 

One former police officer, who is currently mounting a tribunal claim against Scotland Yard, has accused the Met of “gaslighting and bullying” her after she came forward with allegations that a detective constable forced himself on her at work. The constable-in-question has returned to duties. 

One female officer even told the BIJ that her colleagues left her in a forest in the middle of the night on duty to “teach her a lesson” after she reported her officer ex-partner.

Sir Mark Rowley, the Met’s commissioner since September, has pledged to be “ruthless in rooting out racist and misogynist officers.”

But by now, it’s hard for this not to feel like lip service. It’s the same sort of statements we heard from his predecessor multiple times. 

The Met Police has been utterly discredited. The rot runs so deep. We need much further reaching investigation than any commissioned so far into the entire culture of policing in Britain. 

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