An elite London Metropolitan (Met) police officer, David Carrick, has been unmasked as a serial rapist, leading to further revelations of predators hiding in plain sight within the police force.
When Carrick recently pled guilty to a series of charges at Southwark crown court, it brought the total to 49 charges covering 85 serious offences, while the voice of his victims had yet to be heard. (Elite Metropolitan police officer David Carrick revealed as serial rapist by Vikram Dodd and Emine Sinmaz, The Guardian, 16 January 2023)
With trust plummeting ever faster in the good old British bobby, the Met has announced its intention to re-examine investigations into a thousand of its officers who have previously been complained about, but who have all been left in place.
With the eye of the public upon them, police forces up and down the country have suddenly jerked into action. At least 39 officers will face misconduct hearings across England and Wales over the coming weeks, 23 of them from the Metropolitan police alone.
Some of the most unpleasant offenders reported are those who have been downloading images of victims in voyeurism cases and indecent images of children. In one case, an officer is accused of tying up a woman and cutting her with a knife. In another, a sergeant stands accused of using his position to strike up a relationship with a domestic abuse victim.
Met commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has revealed that he expects to see “two or three officers going to court” for separate criminal cases every week for the next few months, with many facing accusations of serious sexual offences and domestic abuse.
“He admitted that Britain’s largest force had more than ‘just a few bad apples’ and warned that ‘more painful stories’ would be unearthed as Scotland Yard intensifies efforts to find and sack unsuitable officers.
“In the latest case, a Safer Schools officer admitted a string of child sex offences including grooming teenage girls.” (Police roll call of disgrace by Lizzie Dearden, Independent, 30 January 2023)
So with the Met admitting that more than one thousand officers and staff have been allowed to remain in the police force despite allegations of sexual misconduct and domestic abuse, how are we to understand this sickening and bestial behaviour pervading the ranks of the constabulary?
The role of the police in capitalist society
In capitalist society, the police’s main function is the protection of private property in the means of production and the enforcement of bourgeois rule.
Every other police activity, from helping old ladies across the road to ‘engaging with the local community’, is so much window-dressing to divert attention from this core role. And because the interests of capital are diametrically opposed to those of the working class, the police, however noble their original motives for entering the ‘service’, cannot but come to see the workers as their enemy.
So it is that a police officer, though often having come from a decent working-class home, can’t help but have contempt for the mass of the working class, against whom they are trained to work.
The police force could not act the way it does without tacit complicity by the court system and without working in coordination with government. The police brutally beat the miners in the 1984-85 miners’ strike, thoroughly living up to the Marxist description of “special bodies of armed men” under the direction of the capitalist state.
Although it was clear to all within the state machinery that the South Yorkshire police had been responsible for the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, which led to the deaths of 96 innocent people, the Thatcher government covered it up as a ‘thank you’ for the police’s role in suppressing the strike.
The corporate media (Murdoch’s empire in particular) worked in lockstep with the government to falsely smear the football fans, claiming they had picked the pockets of the dead, urinated on police officers and beaten an officer who was in the middle of giving the kiss of life – a pack of shameless lies.
This periodic explosion of deceitfulness, brutality and violence by the police brings with it a risk that the general public will come to doubt the propagandised image of the ‘friendly Bobby’ on the street. Public confidence in the police has been rapidly declining over the last two years, in particular since the tragic case of Sarah Everard at the hands of another ‘elite’ Met officer.
When asked whether they trusted the police, 41 percent of people said they did not, with 23 percent distrusting officers “a little” and 18 percent “a lot”.
Women are more likely to report a fall in trust than men, while 43 percent of those polled thought that women “should not have confidence in the police in the UK”. (Public trust in police revealed amid wave of misogyny and sexual violence scandals by Lizzie Dearden, Independent, 30 January 2023)
The National Police Chiefs’ Council has been forced to admit that its leaders “recognise that confidence in policing, especially amongst women and girls, has been damaged”.
“The public deserve to have trust in any officer they may deal with in their time of need,” a spokesperson said. “Police chiefs are committed to rooting out those who betray our professional standards.”
The body warned that as action is taken against unsuitable officers, more “uncomfortable and difficult” cases will be brought to light, but hopes that “action, and the public seeing the result of that action, will rebuild confidence”.
The truth is, you cannot smash a square peg into a round hole. Under bourgeois rule, the police will continue to be periodically exposed by one horrendous scandal after another. It is simply in the nature of their role as a privileged body of armed men, placed above the general population for the purpose of keeping them down, and therefore given immunity from the very laws they are supposed to enforce.
No wonder many workers see the police as gangs in uniform. Only under socialism can the police truly ‘serve the people’, as the media tells us they are meant to (along with politicians, judges, journalists, civil servants, and a whole host of other functionaries of the capitalist state machine).
Until such a society is achieved, the antisocial behaviour of Britain’s police officers will continue to mirror the moribund and degenerate imperialist society whose interests they serve.