Police failings let Savile 'act with impunity': 8 key findings
Police watchdog says Savile was able to offend for five decades because officers failed to 'join the dots'
THE failure of police to share intelligence and "join the dots" prevented them from putting an end to Jimmy Savile's sexual offending, a critical report says. Home Secretary Theresa May, who commissioned the report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), said it brought into "sharp focus police failings that allowed Savile to act with impunity over five decades". Here are eight of the report's key findings:
Seven 'missed opportunities'. The HMIC report says it found five complaints made to the police about Savile prior to his death and "two pieces of intelligence" about the presenter, all of which had been mishandled in different ways, the BBC reports.
First complaint in 1963. The earliest known chance police had to investigate the Jim'll Fix It presenter was in 1963 when a male victim went to Cheshire police and told them he had been raped by Savile. An officer told the victim to "forget about it".
Paedophile intelligence in 1964. A paedophile ledger used by the Metropolitan Police shows intelligence was entered in 1964 suggesting the DJ had visited an address used by girls who had absconded from Duncroft Approved School in Surrey. There is no record of any investigation.
Eight complaints to police. The HMIC report says eight complaints were made by people to the police – and in every case officers failed to respond. One man, who told police his girlfriend had been assaulted during the taping of Top of the Pops, was told he could be arrested for "making such allegations" and sent away. Complaints to Merseyside Police, West Yorkshire Police and the Royal Ulster Constabulary all fell on deaf ears.
Anonymous letter to police. An unsigned letter received by police in 1998 was explicit, describing Savile as a "deeply committed paedophile". But because Savile was a celebrity it was classified as "sensitive" and the information it contained was not readily available to officers investigating allegations against him. With hindsight, the letter makes "distressing reading", says the HMIC report, because the information it contained "provided the police with an opportunity to pursue enquiries that might have confirmed its veracity".
Savile's celebrity played a part. HM Inspector of Constabulary Drusilla Sharpling told Radio 4's Today programme that Savile's fame played a part in the police failure to investigate. "It's clear that because of Savile's celebrity status, people were looking for that extra piece of evidence, behaving with an extra sense of caution because of the power he wielded."
No one 'joined the dots'. Three separate police inquiries in 2003, 2007 and 2008, made in response to complaints from alleged victims, came to nothing because officers in Sussex and Surrey failed to collaborate and support each other. Police had systems and processes to enable forces to "join the dots" and to spot patterns, the HMIC report says, but these had been either used incorrectly or not at all.
It could happen again. The HMIC report warns that the failure of police to share intelligence on a prolific offender happen again – and another Jimmy Savile, operating today, could still get away with it. ·