Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Wiltshire Police officers disciplined over David Carrick investigation failure

Two Wiltshire Police officers who failed to adequately investigate an allegation of abuse by serial rapist David Carrick five years before the former officer was first arrested, have been given final written warnings for misconduct.  

David Tippetts, who was a police sergeant at the time, and is now an inspector, and PC Emma Fisher faced a disciplinary hearing following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).  

Our investigation, which began in July 2023 following a voluntary conduct referral from Wiltshire Police and concluded in January 2024, established that a woman called Wiltshire Police in January 2016 to report that Carrick had abused another female. She wanted Carrick, a serving Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officer, investigated.  

PC Fisher was assigned to investigate the matter. After speaking to the woman who made the report in person, PC Fisher requested the case be closed and her supervisor, PS Tippetts, agreed.  

PC Fisher updated the force’s computer system saying the woman said the matter had been investigated some time earlier. In fact, it had not been investigated and no record of a previous investigation could be found on Wiltshire’s systems. 

Neither officer checked police systems nor took any further steps to investigate the matter. The female who was identified as being the victim of the abuse was never contacted about the allegation.  

If the officers had searched for David Carrick’s name on Wiltshire Police’s crime recording system they would have found he was under investigation - in an unrelated case – for offences against another woman, which had been reported to Wiltshire three days earlier.  

Despite being told that Carrick was a serving MPS officer, the officers did not notify the Met Police's Directorate of Professional Standards of the serious allegation made against him, nor did they seek advice from their own Professional Standards Department about next steps.  

We sought the expertise of a senior detective in Wiltshire Police - who had no knowledge of this case - and they said there would have been an expectation that these actions would have been completed, and that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) would have been informed of the allegation, so CID detectives could re-visit the woman who made the allegation and also contact the alleged victim to understand if they wished to assist an investigation. 

In February 2023, Carrick was sentenced to a minimum term of 30 years in prison for 49 violent and sexual offences, including 24 counts of rape.  

IOPC regional director Mel Palmer said: “No one is to blame for David Carrick’s horrific spate of offending but him.

“However, our investigation found there was a missed opportunity by Wiltshire Police officers to investigate him following a report of a serious abuse allegation made years before he was eventually arrested.

“PC Fisher took minimal investigative action. She didn’t try to contact the victim of the reported crime, flag to the Met a serious allegation against one of its officers, or search David Carrick’s name on Wiltshire Police’s systems. This would have shown that Carrick was already under investigation following another a report of a serious offence three days earlier.

“PC Fisher requested the investigation be closed following minimal work or effort, and her supervisor, PS Tippetts, agreed and - contrary to the force’s policy - failed to flag any concerns to colleagues in CID who specialise in investigating serious allegations.”

At the end of our investigation we determined that both officers should face a gross misconduct hearing for potentially breaching the police standards of professional behaviour. 

The hearing was arranged by Wiltshire Police and held in front of a panel headed by a legally qualified chair. The panel determined that both officers had breached the standards of behaviour relating to duties and responsibilities and discreditable conduct and that their actions amounted to misconduct. Yesterday (6 June) they imposed final written warnings on both officers, which will be live for two years.

The panel considered they had made an isolated error and there was no evidence either officer had acted deliberately or with premeditation. Both officers also had shown remorse and made admissions at an early stage to their failures.

Further details on our investigation  

We began our investigation on 4 July 2023, following a conduct referral from Wiltshire which had reviewed its systems following Carrick’s conviction and found this 2016 report, which did not appear to have been investigated appropriately at the time.  

We also investigated a complaint from the victim of Carrick after she made a complaint in December 2023 about the force’s failure to investigate the 2016 report.  

Our six-month investigation concluded in January after examining whether Wiltshire Police acted appropriately following the January 2016 report; and whether the force acted in accordance with the relevant national and local policy and guidance in place at the time.  

As part of our investigation we examined force policies, obtained witness statements from experts within Wiltshire Police regarding operating police systems and investigative actions, looked at audits undertaken on the occurrence enquiry logs, interviewed both officers and obtained their written prepared statements.

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