Claims by 20 women of sexual harassment and bullying against the actor Noel Clarke will not lead to a criminal police investigation, according to the Metropolitan police.
Clarke was the subject of complaints of groping and sexual misconduct in incidents between 2004 and 2019. He is best known for his work on the “hood” series of films, beginning with Kidulthood in 2006, and the BBC’s Doctor Who.
The allegations, made by women who knew him in a professional capacity, were revealed by the Guardian in April 2021.
They included that Clarke said to one woman that he planned to “fuck her and fire her”, and that he had secretly filmed a naked audition.
It had been claimed by former London School of Dramatic Art students that Clarke had encouraged them to undress in improvisation workshops.
After the complaints came to light, the Met said it was investigating. However, on Friday Scotland Yard said it would not launch a formal investigation “following a thorough assessment by specialist detectives”.
A spokesperson said: “We have updated the complainants. If any further allegations related to those already assessed are reported then it will be thoroughly considered.”
Anna Birley, a member of the campaign group Reclaim These Streets, which recently won a high court case against the Met, told the Daily Mirror that reports should be taken seriously and women listened to.
“It must be hugely upsetting for women who have been so brave and spoken out to hear that the police don’t believe their testimonies are enough.”
Birley added: “Our criminal justice system fails women time and again.”
In the aftermath of the sexual harassment claims, Bafta withdrew an award for outstanding British contribution to cinema it had bestowed just over a fortnight before. It faced criticism for giving Clarke the gong despite having warnings about his behaviour and conduct.
Actors including Christina Chong, who starred alongside Clarke in Bulletproof, tweeted that the allegations about him were “the UK film industry’s best-kept secret for years. If in doubt, trust me, it’s true.”
Since the claims, Clarke stood down from his production company. Shows he starred in, including Sky’s Bulletproof, were pulled from schedules and cancelled.
He has not commented on the Met’s announcement, but in a previous statement said: “I vehemently deny any sexual misconduct or criminal wrongdoing. Recent reports however have made it clear to me that some of my actions have affected people in ways I did not intend or realise.
“To those individuals, I am deeply sorry. I will be seeking professional help to educate myself and change for the better.”