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London police say officers likely to face criminal prosecution every week as sexual predators rooted out

London police say officers likely to face criminal prosecution every week as sexual predators rooted out
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London — The head of London’s embattled Metropolitan Police has said two or three officers from the force will likely end up in courts to face charges every week as department tries to win back public confidence by rooting out criminals in its own ranks. The Met has been scandalized by a series of high-profile cases of serving officers violently sexually assaulting and even murdering women and girls.  

“There are two or three officers going to court for criminal cases, which tends to be a mix of dishonesty, violence against women… types of offenses,” Commissioner Mark Rowley said at a Wednesday news conference. 

The Met, Britain’s biggest police force, has been battling to restore its reputation since the March 2021 kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by then serving officer Wayne Couzens in South London.

The fallout from that case led to the ouster of the Met’s former leader, and Rowley has taken an aggressive but risky approach to winning back public trust, initiating a force-wide re-vetting process for all officers and issuing an appeal for anyone with information about criminal action by staff to report it.

Dozens of sexual offenses and cases of alleged violence against women have been reported over the past two weeks. 

Refuge rotten apples police protest
A person helps place 1,071 rotten apples outside New Scotland Yard, reflecting the number of Metropolitan Police officers who have been, or are currently, under investigation for allegations of domestic abuse or violence against women and girls, January 20, 2023.

Aaron Chown/PA Images/Getty

Last week, constable David Carrick, 48, admitted to 49 separate sexual offenses, including four counts of rape, false imprisonment and indecent assault against women while serving on the force.

“We have hundreds in policing who shouldn’t be here. David Carrick is an awful example of that,” Rowley said as he issued a public apology Wednesday for what has been described as a deeply entrenched culture of abuse. “I think we have failed as investigators where we should have been more intrusive and joined the dots on this repeated misogyny over decades.”

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In the latest scandal, police constable [PC] Hussain Chehab admitted on Tuesday to having sex with a 15-year-old girl and possessing indecent images of children while he was a serving Met officer. A court heard that Chehab had even served as a school liaison officer during his time on the force.

“Our thoughts foremost today are with the young girls who Chehab exploited and took advantage of for his own sexual gratification,” Metropolitan Police Detective Caroline Haines said in a statement. “These offenses are made all the more sickening by the fact that some of the image offenses were committed while PC Chehab was in a role as a Safer Schools officer.” 

Rowley has vowed to transform the culture of the Met and hold abusers accountable.

London Assembly Police and Crime Committee
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley appears before the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee to answer questions about the David Carrick case, at City Hall in East London, January 25, 2023.

Yui Mok/PA Images/Getty

At least 1,000 of the force’s officers had been or are currently under investigation, and Rowley made it clear that more were expected to come to light.

“Lifting the stone reveals painful truths that will not be resolved overnight. I must not pretend they will be, and I hope you understand that can’t be done,” he said. “We have to prepare for more painful stories as we confront the issues that we face.”

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