12 Mar 2013

Jimmy Savile scandal failures could happen again

Policing inspectors have conceded there is a “distinct possibility” that officers could fail to stop another Savile-like scandal from happening again.

Jimmy Savile (GETTY)

Just five complaints were recorded by police officers against Jimmy Savile during his lifetime, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has revealed.

A report into the Savile scandal, that warns police failures could happen again, shows the earliest complaint was made in Cheshire in 1963. The HMIC report was an attempt to uncover how much the police know about Savile.

After Operation Yewtree was launched in October 2012, 450 people came forward to make specific claims. A report on the investigation published in January branded Savile one of the UK’s most prolific sexual predators.

Today it was revealed police restricted access to intelligence that could have exposed Savile’s crimes because it involved celebrity, blackmail and paedophilia. A letter received by Scotland Yard in 1998 that claimed the DJ was an abuser was classed as “sensitive”, preventing other investigators from finding it.

Read more from Channel 4 News on the Savile scandal

Inspectors said: “The 1998 MPS anonymous letter was marked as ‘sensitive’ because of Savile’s celebrity status and because there were allegations of blackmail and paedophilia. This categorisation meant that the intelligence was not readily available to be searched by later investigating officers.”

Scotland Yard sent the letter to West Yorkshire Police, where Savile lived, but other investigators were unable to access the information until 2011.

The letter said: “The image that Jimmy Savile has tried to portray over the years is someone who is deeply concerned with his fellow man; however, the thrust of this is entirely the opposite. His fundraising activities are not out of altruistic motives, but purely for selfish advancement and an easy living.”

Solicitor from law firm Pannone, Alan Collins, who is representing over 40 of Savile’s victims said further opportunities to investigate Savile were lost.

“Savile was able to carry on regardless, duping the country in the process, and the price was paid by his many victims,” Mr Collins explained.

“There is a definite risk that unless policies and attitudes change, Savile will happen again.”