It took Sir Mark Rowley more than six hours yesterday to say sorry for the Met Police’s failure to remove a serial rapist, pictured above, from its ranks. We look at the task ahead for the commissioner.
‘Non-existent’ vetting gives free rein to predators
Sir Mark Rowley took over as the Metropolitan Police Commissioner with a pledge to root out corruption after a series of scandals. But the scale of serial offending by a Scotland Yard officer who carried out scores of rapes – and the missed warning signs that could have brought him to justice earlier – suggests the size of the task could be more daunting than previously thought. David Carrick, who joined the Met in 2001, pleaded guilty to 49 charges against 12 victims, covering a total of 85 separate offences, making him one of Britain’s most prolific rapists. He used his position as a police officer to gain the trust of his victims, sometimes flashing his warrant card and telling them they would be “safe” with him. The Met acknowledged there were nine potential opportunities to catch him that were missed. Crime editor Martin Evans writes that the scandal represents Sir Mark’s first major crisis less than five months into the job, which he took over from Dame Cressida Dick, who resigned after losing the confidence of Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London.
Sir Mark will be under particular pressure because, as the former assistant commissioner in charge of specialist operations, home affairs editor Charles Hymas explains that he was effectively Carrick’s boss when some of his offending was taking place. Among the blunders in the Carrick case was the Met’s failure to vet him regularly, during a period when Sir Mark was one of the force’s most senior figures. As Scotland Yard revealed that more than 1,000 officers accused of domestic abuse and sex offences are to have their cases reviewed, a female former chief constable has warned that vetting in policing is “non-existent”.
Prime Minister blocks Sturgeon’s ‘chilling’ gender Bill
Rishi Sunak has blocked Nicola Sturgeon’s gender reforms after concluding they would have “chilling effects” on the safety of women-only spaces across the UK. In an unprecedented decision approved by the Prime Minister, Alister Jack, the Scottish Secretary, announced that he would veto the Gender Recognition Reform Bill. He said he had concluded it would damage the operation of Great Britain-wide equalities legislation after receiving detailed legal advice. Read his letter to Ms Sturgeon. Meanwhile, Mr Sunak faces a “big backlash” if he presses ahead with a ban on trans conversion therapy which campaigners and Tory MPs say could criminalise parents, teachers and doctors.
Harry and Meghan accuse Clarkson of ‘hate rhetoric’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have accused Jeremy Clarkson of apologising “solely” to Prince Harry over his newspaper column about Meghan. The couple issued a statement after the presenter announced he had sent an email to both the Duke and Duchess to apologise for his “disgraceful” words. Royal editor Victoria Ward says it comes as it emerged that Clarkson is “likely” to be dropped by Amazon, after he admitted the streaming service was “incandescent” over the column.
Also in the news this morning
Education | Schools have been told to bring in volunteers and use remote learning after seven days of strike action were announced by the country’s biggest teaching union. A mass walkout of National Education Union members is scheduled to begin on Feb 1, to coincide with a “national right to strike day” of protests around the country led by the Trades Union Congress. Education editor Louisa Clarence-Smith says further national teaching strikes are planned for later in the month.
Around the world: ‘Britain sending the wrong tanks’
James Cleverly is to urge Washington to go “further and faster” in backing Ukraine on his first visit to the US capital as Foreign Secretary. In talks with Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, Mr Cleverly will say that, with the right equipment, Kyiv can prevail against Moscow. Meanwhile, Robert Clarkargues in this piece for us that, in providing Challenger II tanks to Ukraine, Britain is sending the wrong fleet.
Britain is the first Western power to supply Ukraine with main battle tanks
Comment and analysis
Sherelle Jacobs | Britain will rejoin EU sooner than anyone imagines
It is the Tories’ greatest betrayal: they have made such a hash of the project it is probably unsalvageable
Brexit has become the madwoman in the country’s attic. Demonised, its spirit crushed, it looms over the UK like Mr Rochester’s wife, Bertha Mason, in Jane Eyre. Of course, Bertha – who sets fire to her husband’s bed and rips up Jane’s wedding veil – cannot be blamed for all the chaos that she causes. A rebellious force of nature, she is driven to insanity by repression and neglect. So, too, has Brexit been turned into a national psychodrama. With no plan to unleash its potential, it can only fester, stoking tensions in Northern Ireland and strangling small firms with red tape.
Colombian popstrel Shakira, 45, has just topped the global Spotify chart and racked up a staggering 111 million-plus views on YouTube for a new song inspired by her ex-boyfriend, former Spanish, Barcelona and Manchester United footballing legend Gerard Pique.
Business briefing: British Gas in heat pumps price war
British Gas has kicked off a price war for heat pumps as the drive to replace gas boilers gathers pace. Britain’s largest household energy supplier said it will price match any offer by a rival company for accredited installations. Meanwhile, according to the latest data from HM Revenue and Customs, nearly five million taxpayers are still yet to file their tax return with two weeks until the deadline. Charlotte Gifford explains how to make use of tax breaks if you are filing a return.
Here is a selection of articles we think you’ll be interested in today.
A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world.
We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".
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