LONDON (AP) — A London police officer has admitted to raping and sexually assaulting a dozen women over nearly two decades, in a case described as «devastating» to the already frayed public trust in the force.

David Carrick, an armed officer who served in Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command and worked on Parliamentary Estate, was charged with 49 offenses against 12 women over an 18-year period.

At an earlier hearing at the Old Bailey last year, the 48-year-old pleaded guilty to 43 offences, including 20 counts of rape. On Monday, he pleaded guilty to four counts of rape, false imprisonment and indecent assault.

Deputy Commissioner Barbara Gray, the Metropolitan Police’s professionalism leader, apologized to Carrick’s alleged victims, describing him as a «prolific serial sex offender».

“It has had a devastating impact on the confidence of women and girls that we are working so hard to earn,” she said in a statement. «He has devastated his colleagues.»

“He used the fact that he was a police officer to control and coerce his victims. We know they felt unable to come forward earlier because he told them they wouldn’t be believed.

«We should have caught his pattern of abusive behavior, and because we didn’t, we missed opportunities to remove him from the organization,» he added. Carrick met some of the women through online dating sites or at social events, using her position as a police officer to gain her trust, according to The Associated Press.

Details of Carrick’s crimes were not made public until Monday under strict reporting restrictions in the UK

The revelations on Monday were the latest high-profile blow to the capital’s confidence in its police force, the Metropolitan Police. It follows the kidnapping, rape and murder of Sarah Everard at the hands of Wayne Couzens, an elite officer also with the Diplomatic Protection Command, which ignited a national conversation about violence against women and misogyny.

A London police officer admitted on Monday, January 16, 2023 to multiple charges of rape and sexual assault against a dozen women over nearly two decades.  David Carrick, 48, pleaded guilty to 49 counts, including about 20 counts of rape, assault, attempted rape and false imprisonment.
David Carrick. Hertfordshire Police / AP

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was «absolutely disgusted and appalled» by the revelations.

«Londoners will rightly be surprised that this man has been able to work for the Met for so long, and serious questions must be answered about how he was able to abuse his position as an officer in this horrendous way,» Khan said.

Carrick was in police systems in connection with a series of off-duty incidents before and during his employment as an officer in 2001, none of which resulted in a criminal sanction at the time, the Metropolitan Police said on Monday.

Carrick came to police attention for nine incidents, despite being investigated upon joining the Metropolitan Police in 2001, and again in 2017, the force said in a statement. He added that two of those incidents were not recorded in police systems.

A police spokesperson declined to comment on the search when approached by NBC News for clarification. The force said it had upgraded its systems and Carrick would have been flagged under current processes.

After being arrested in October 2021, Carrick was immediately suspended from duty, police said.

Police have been working to repair ties with the community and restore trust among the women after a spate of cases fueled concerns. around sexual misconduct, misogyny and racism.

Earlier this month, an official pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and assault of a woman in her 20s while off duty, and another official He was convicted of harassing a colleague.

Two officers were jailed in 2021 for sharing photos of slain sisters Nicole Henry and Bibaa Smallman and calling the sisters «dead birds» in WhatsApp messages.

Bibaa, who was black, and Nicole, who was mixed-race, were discovered in a London park by family members, who were left to search for themselves. Her mother, Mina Smallman, believed that the police did not search for her daughters because of racial discrimination and classism, a charge that the force denied.

A recent independent review of the culture and behavioral standards of the Metropolitan Police, commissioned after scandals including the Everard murder, said it uncovered systemic failures that have allowed too many «abhorrent» officers to be accused of sexual misconduct. and domestic abuse to remain working.

Highlighting missed opportunities to detect repeated or escalating misconduct, the report by Dame Louise Casey said that between 2013 and 2022, 20% of officers and staff in the misconduct system were involved in two or more cases, but less than 1% of those officers had been fired.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Metropolitan Police said it had set up a dedicated domestic abuse and sexual offenses investigation team to deal with officers or staff members involved in domestic abuse or sexual offences.

“Our work to identify and rid the Met of corrupt officials is determined and focused,” Gray said.

Carrick has been remanded in custody and will be sentenced at a hearing at Southwark Crown Court from 6 February.