Trust in police was shaken again when we heard that a serving police officer is a serial rapist.
He exploited his warrant card and status to coerce, abuse and rape women over a 20-year period.
David Carrick was an armed police officer who was still entrusted with protecting diplomats and politicians despite repeated complaints and investigations.
You cannot gain the public’s trust if a predatory police officer can carry out their abuse in plain sight, unchallenged by their peers and superiors.
Not only that, but it casts a shadow across the exemplary work of thousands of police officers and staff who are trying hard to keep us all safe from harm 365 days a year.
Following the recent HMICFRS report, which outlined 29 recommendations for forces to improve vetting, I have used two webcast “Performance and Accountability” meetings to scrutinise Sussex Police’s vetting protocols and procedures to see how they are implementing these.
I intend to revisit this again next month.
There is a great deal of work going into improving vetting at a national level as well as in Sussex.
The force’s anonymous “Break the Silence” internal reporting route has been used by officers and staff to confidentially report colleagues’ unacceptable behaviours.
And it has led to swift disciplinary action and, in a few cases, officers being dismissed.
In an interview with Nick Ferrari, on LBC, I talked about this in greater detail.
If British policing wants to regain and retain its global reputation for professionalism, competence, fairness and integrity, we will have to do what it takes – we can’t afford not to.
Katy Bourne is the Sussex police and crime commissioner.