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'This series is about abuse of power': Will Mellor on 'Cops Gone Bad'

Will Mellor and Serena Simmons
Will Mellor is joined by forensic psychologist Serena Simmons in 'Cops Gone Bad'

Will Mellor returns to Crime+Investigation to explore seven new high-profile cases of police corruption in Cops Gone Bad.

Starting with the case of David Carrick, who conducted a reign of terror against multiple women whilst enjoying a 20-year career in the Metropolitan Police, Cops Gone Badinvestigates police officers who are killers, fraudsters, swindlers, sexual predators and drug dealers. 

Alongside Will, the series features returning experts - retired Detective Chief Inspector Howard Groves and forensic psychologist Serena Simmons. In each episode, Will and his team of specialists delve behind the headlines to explore what made those in a position of trust abuse their power so flagrantly and devastatingly.

Crime + Investigation jumped on a call with Will, Serena and Howard to find out about the new series and discuss what the police can do to rebuild its reputation in light of recent scandals.

Will, what made you want to return to the topic of criminal cops?

There are a lot of questions still to be answered. In this series, it's not just about police who kill people but about other forms of police criminality, from corruption and sexual assault, to drug dealing and blackmail. So, there's a different side from the first series.

Will, what do you make of the findings of the Home Office-commissioned report into Wayne Couzens?

We looked at the Wayne Couzens case for Cops Who Kill in 2023. At the time I said that he should not have been a police officer. Sadly, this report confirms that. The police missed so many red flags and the public needs to know why. David Carrick was in the same unit as Couzens and we looked at his case in the first episode Cops Gone Bad. Thankfully, police officers like Couzens and Carrick are in the minority but there needs to be change. Hopefully this report will help spur the police on to make those changes so people like this can never have positions of authority again.

Will, was it nice working with Serena and Howard again?

It's always good to have a familiar face because we have a good rapport. It makes it that much easier because we know what we need from each other. It's quite tough for Serena and Howard as they have to be across every case, but we just have a conversation. I ask natural questions that I want to ask and that I think the public wants to know. I think I'm the voice of the public.

Will, was it a different experience focusing on different types of crimes and not just murders?

With Cops Gone Bad, it's not just focused on murders. It explores a different mindset. Were these people already corrupt or was it the badge that made them hungry for power? 

Serena, is there a common mindset of a police officer who breaks the law?

I don't think there's a typical mindset necessarily. Will alluded to something interesting. Does someone go into the police because they want to take advantage of their position or does the opportunity just arise while they're there? With the cases in this series, you see a mixture of both. 

retired Detective Chief Inspector Howard Groves
Retired Detective Chief Inspector Howard Groves joins Will Mellor in 'Cops Gone Bad

Will, episode one focuses on the David Carrick case, how much did you know about the case beforehand?

It was a tough case to go through. I had heard something about it in the news but to extent of what he did to women was unbelievable. Not only that, but to find out he was from the same unit as Wayne Couzens was just mindboggling. It just makes you think: How deep does this rabbit hole go? 

Vile is the only word I could use to describe David Carrick. It was just sickening what he did. It was a tough one but I'm glad it's in the series because the truth needs to come out. These women need to be celebrated for their bravery as well.

This series is about abuse of power, and the ultimate abuse of trust is exactly what David Carrick did. He used the line: 'You can trust me, I'm a police officer'. Then he used it on the other side saying, 'No one is going to believe you, I'm a police officer'.

Howard, is there a sense that police officers who commit crimes can get away with it because of their authority?

Police despise those individuals who tarnish the reputation of the police service, that message needs to be got across as well.

We need to get across that the majority of police officers do a good job but there is a small group that use the power or the influence of the badge to commit crimes. Sometimes, they are foolish enough to think they are going to get away with it because they know the investigative process. 

Serena: For the most part, police officers go into the police for all the right reasons. They want to serve; they want to protect people and they care about the public. But obviously what we are also highlighting is some people use that to their advantage. 

Will, have the Couzens and Carrick cases fundamentally damaged the police's reputation?

 It's going to damage the reputation of the police and to get tarred with the same brush must be hard for them. But we have to encourage people in the force to lift their heads above the parapet and speak out when they see wrongdoing. The only way you are going to build a bridge between the police and the public is when they start doing that.

Watch Cops Gone Bad on Crime+Investigationon Mondays at 9pm. The series is available to stream on Crime+Investigation Play.