The case causes horror in Great Britain - and could draw even more circles. A London police officer has confessed to 24 rapes and other sexual assaults against twelve women in court (the star reported). According to the investigators, he is said to have used his profession to gain the trust of his victims. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was "disgusted and appalled".
There is no penalty yet, but it is clear that the Metropolitan Police have reacted: the officer has been out of his job since the fall. But the authorities' response came late. Too late, as the police leadership now conceded. There had been allegations of domestic violence, rape and harassment before the 48-year-old joined the police service. There were also complaints during his service – there were no consequences. "We should have noticed his behavior and by not doing so we missed the opportunity to pull him out," said a London Police Department official.
The Metropolitan Police are already under massive fire after a series of scandals. The kidnapping, rape and murder of a woman by a police officer in March 2021 caused outrage.
But this and the most recent case could only be the tip of the iceberg, as several British media reports. "More than 1,000 officers accused of domestic violence and sex crimes are to be checked," headlines The Telegraph, for example. The Metropolitan Police confirmed the large-scale investigation into possible crimes by their officers and gave a total of 1,600 cases.
The authority, also known as the "Met", is the police force in the London region - known to tourists above all for the patrol officers known as "Bobbys". However, it also maintains criminal police units, traffic officers and all other departments of a metropolitan police force. A total of around 44,000 men and women work at the "Met".
According to Harriet Wistrich, the known cases reveal a "deeply rotten misogynistic culture" in the London police force. The 63-year-old lawyer and feminist is a co-founder of the "Justice for Women" association, which campaigns for women's rights. She told the Guardian: "The failure to suspend the officer or investigate him for misconduct following reports from women (...) accurately reflects the issues we have identified." She also means: a decades-long culture of looking the other way.
Met boss Sir Mark Rowley agreed: "Through a combination of weak policies and weak decisions, over the past 20 years we have missed opportunities to remove the officer from the service," he told the BBC.
Rowley took over as chief of police in London a few months ago. He also set out to polish the battered image of his agency and win back the public's trust in the civil servants. Tasks that are not getting any easier after the recent scandal. "I understand this will cause some women across London to wonder if they can trust the 'Met'."
According to an investigative report released shortly after Rowley took office, many cases of alleged harassment or other wrongdoing by officials have fizzled out. Hundreds of procedures were still pending. "There must be hundreds of people who shouldn't be here anymore, who should be thrown out," the police chief said at the time. The House of Representatives responsible for the report, Louise Casey, attested to the “Met”, among other things, systematic racism and misogyny.
The upcoming re-examination of more than 1000 police officers should now be the liberation for the London police - and can possibly bring justice to other victims. Their representatives believe that more crimes will come to light.
"Met" boss Rowley wants to go even further. According to the BBC, he announced that he wanted to check all 45,000 employees in his agency for previously overlooked crimes. "We have not yet shown the same ruthlessness to protect our own integrity that we routinely use when confronting criminals." This should now change.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman also called for further efforts to remove criminal and corrupt officers from the police force - although this "could mean that more shocking cases will come to light in the short term".
Sources: Metropolitan Police, The Telegraph(paid content), The Guardian, BBC, DPA and AFP news agencies