REVEALED: Investigation of 110 officers for improperly using off-duty search warrants during drunken fights and for inappropriately approaching women
- 110 officers were investigated for improperly using warrant cards in the past five years
- The problem came to light when Wayne Couzens used his badge to stop Sarah Everard
- Then-serving Met officer kidnapped, raped and then murdered her in March 2021
Dozens of police officers have misused their warrant cards to intimidate the public during drunken fights and to approach women inappropriately, it can be revealed.
Forces across the country have investigated 110 officers over the past five years for falsely showing their police identification while off duty – and the vast majority have been allowed to keep their jobs.
Campaigners have warned that the soft-touch approach makes agents who exploit their powers feel “untouchable” and may pose a greater risk to the public.
The issue came into sharp focus when Wayne Couzens used his badge to stop Sarah Everard on a south London road before kidnapping, raping and murdering her in March 2021.
A Mail investigation has now uncovered details of internal investigations into officers who abused credentials in physical altercations outside pubs and clubs, in making ‘threats of violence’ to members of the public and in evading speeding penalties.
Dozens of police officers have abused their search warrants to intimidate the public during drunken fights and to approach women inappropriately. Wayne Couzens (pictured) stopped Sarah Evarard from using his badge before raping and killing her
This is when Wayne Couzens fooled Ms Everard by showing her his police badge before kidnapping her
Rapist David Carrick showed ID to target victims
A Metropolitan Police officer who was exposed earlier this year as one of Britain’s worst serial rapists is said to show his warrant to victims to try and gain their trust.
David Carrick was sentenced to life with a minimum of 32 years for committing more than 70 sexual assaults on at least a dozen women over at least 17 years. One of the women said Carrick showed his warrant card on their first date. He would say to his victims, “I’m a police officer, you’re safe with me.”
An independent investigation concluded that police missed 18 opportunities to stop Carrick.
David Carrick (pictured) would show his warrant card to the victims
In a similar instance, an unnamed officer who showed his command card during a battle where he allegedly spat in someone’s face was told by bosses to reconsider his actions.
The off-duty agent attempted to use his badge to enter a club in November 2021. He then got involved in an altercation where he allegedly spat in a door staff’s face.
Despite this, he was simply told to do “reflective practice.”
Several cases bear chilling similarities to Ms Everard’s case, including incidents where police reportedly displayed their search warrants to improperly ‘reassure’ women and to ‘start conversation’ with strangers.
A police insider described the summaries as “euphemisms” for predatory behavior.
Yet many agents continue to escape with just a slap on the wrist, such as being ordered to do “reflective practice” or simply getting a dress-up from a superior.
There are now calls for police chiefs to stamp out card misuse by possibly investigating it as a criminal offence.
Sue Fish, the former chief constable of Nottinghamshire Police, said: ‘This kind of fatherly attitude that ‘a slap on the wrist will suffice’ must be stopped.
“If you get away with that, you’re home and dry, so risky behavior continues — obviously it escalates and eventually you could use your search warrant to kidnap women off the street.”
She said the cases brought to light by the Mail are likely “just the tip of the iceberg” as often no complaints will be made against officers misusing their badge because the process is “soul-destroying”.
“Police need to be completely reformed, not just tinkering with the edges,” she added.
Internal cases of misconduct from 33 police forces – uncovered by the Mail through freedom of information laws – include a Northumbria police officer who was given a written warning in 2017 for showing his badge while ‘verbally abusing, threatening violence and threatening to to arrest’. a stranger.
The Metropolitan Police – recently found institutionally racist, misogynistic and homophobic by a scathing review – has investigated 14 officers between 2017 and 2022 for misusing their search warrants.
In 2018, a cop was said to have been “very drunk and abusive” in a taxi.
He vomited inside, only to show his badge when the driver tried to call the police. He received a written warning.
A Cleveland Police Department officer attempted to use their admission ticket to get a discounted entry to a club in 2021 before physically assaulting door staff and allegedly making a “racist remark” to one of them.
Several cases have chilling similarities to the case of Ms Everard (pictured), who was killed by a serving officer in March 2021
There are now calls for police chiefs to stamp out card misuse by possibly investigating it as a criminal offence
They were told to do reflective exercises, which is basically asking them to think about what they’ve done.
Last night, MPs expressed serious concern about the findings, warning that they could further erode public confidence in the police.
Former Attorney General Robert Buckland described the revelations as “disturbing” and said police should consider prosecuting officers who abuse their position.
He said: “This is yet another disturbing example of the magnitude of work that still needs to be done to ensure that the highest standards of public life are maintained by the police.”