Labour blast ‘lame’ Tories for failure to vet police force

Jon Kay horrified by Met Police Commissioner admission

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The Labour party has blasted the Tories for failing to implement compulsory vetting standards for police officers. Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper spoke on Robert Peston’s ITV politics show after Met Police officer David Carrick was found to be one of the country’s most prolific sex offenders.

Mr Carrick, an officer of over 20 years, pleaded guilty to 49 sexual offence charges, including 24 counts of rape, at Southwark Crown Court on Monday.

Ms Cooper, MP for Normanton, Pontefract, Castleford and Knottingley, said: “This in the end also is a matter for the Home Office, the things that the Government have been saying about this frankly are lame.

“We heard the same things from them two years ago when Sarah Everard was murdered, we had the same sort of promises that action would be taken.

“And yet there are still no compulsory standards for police forces on vetting.

“Basic things that simply are not requirements, they don’t even have to get character checks on police applications, basic things that ought to take place.”

The Met Police have apologised for Mr Carrick slipping through the cracks, with Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley saying the force had “failed” and Carrick “should not have been a police officer”.

He said: “This man abused women in the most disgusting manner. It is sickening. We’ve let women and girls down, and indeed we’ve let Londoners down.

“We have failed. And I’m sorry. He should not have been a police officer.”

This comes just two years after Wayne Couzens was sentenced to life imprisonment for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard.

Rishi Sunak said he had spoken with the Commissioner on Wednesday and “made clear to him – and he agrees – that the abuse of power that we’ve seen this week is absolutely despicable and it needs to be addressed immediately”.

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The PM added that all forces had been asked to see if anyone of concern had managed to get through current staff vetting procedures.

He said checks had been “significantly strengthened” in recent years and that the Government was ensuring every police force now has “best in class” vetting, to be “independently inspected very quickly”.

Mr Sunak said be believes Mr Carrick would not have passed the new checks.

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