Police investigating the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse allegations are preparing to make arrests amid reports "household names" could be be questioned over the case.

“We are preparing an arrest strategy now,” the commander in charge of the investigation, Peter Spindler, told journalists, refusing to comment on whether high profile figures or former BBC employees were to be questioned.

However he added: "We do have a number of other people that we can investigate."

Officers are yet to detain anyone or interview them under caution, but Spindler said Savile was "undoubtedly" one of the most prolific sex offenders he had come across and said they were dealing with as many as 300 potential victims.

He added: "Within London we have trebled the number of historic abuse allegations. I have no doubt that we're in a watershed moment for child abuse investigation, and Operation Yewtree will be a landmark investigation."

savile cottage

Police are investigating whether Savile was involved in an abuse ring at his highland cottage

Questions have been raised over why previous allegations against Savile were not pursued.

Mr Spindler said a retired officer had been in touch to say he had investigated Savile in the 1980s while based in west London but did not have the evidence to proceed.

The commander said he believed the allegation was of an indecent assault, possibly in a caravan on BBC premises in west London, but officers have still not found the original file.

Another allegation, of inappropriate touching dating back to the 1970s, was made by a woman in 2003, but this was treated as "intelligence" by police because the victim did not want to take action.

Allegations that three doctors were involved in an abuse ring linked to Savile have not yet been passed to the investigation team, Mr Spindler said.

The former DJ, who died last year aged 84, had a bedroom at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, an office and living quarters at Broadmoor and widespread access to Leeds General Infirmary.

The officer added that a search of a cottage belonging to Savile in Scotland was being carried out to look for "any evidence of any others being involved in any offending with him".

Savile is said to have entertained a number of celebrities at the cottage in Allt na Reigh, in Glencoe.

Officers have adopted a "triage" approach to dealing with the victims, first approaching them by phone to get details of their claims.

"We are trying to make contact with as many victims as quickly as we can. We are doing it initially by telephone but some of those telephone contacts are taking up to four hours," Mr Spindler said.

"This may be the first time that some people have actually spoken in any detail, and we don't underestimate how significant an event it is for them to disclose sexual abuse."

Praising victims for their courage in coming forward, he encouraged anyone else who is wondering whether to speak out to do so.

"That's the type of people who are the most vulnerable in our society, and they do need to be given a voice. I think what's
happened with this inquiry is that others have clearly demonstrated that they do have a voice and that they will be heard."

Mr Spindler said the weight of evidence against the late DJ was overwhelming.

He said: "We have to believe what they are saying because they are all saying the same thing independently."

Investigators have so far spoken to 130 people who have come forward, and 114 allegations of crime have emerged.

So far, the NSPCC has had 439 calls about sexual abuse in the past three weeks, a 60% rise on what they would normally receive. Two out of five have been referred to social services and the police.

Mr Spindler also warned current abuse offenders that police "will come for them".

He said: "While Britain reflects on how Savile was able to hide in plain sight, I think it's quite important that we focus on what's happening today in our society and our activities in the coming weeks hopefully will be a stark warning to any men out there today who think they can exploit their positions of power and influence and abuse children and young people in Britain.

"I really do want them to take heed, and tell them that we will come for them."

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  • Jimmy Savile in 1961 around the time he was working for Radio Luxembourg. He is at London Airport with Pan American stewardess Birgit Johansson with two gold discs; one is for American singer Elvis Presley for having sold one million copies of "It's Now or Never" in the UK, and the other is for Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker

  • Cilla Black and Jimmy Savile before a Variety Club Luncheon at the Savoy Hotel. Taken in 1964, the year Savile became the first presenter of Top of the Pops

  • Two women have come forward with allegations from the 1960s, one who was 14 and another who was a teenager when she claims Savile sexually abused her in Scarborough

  • Savile in 1969 with Physically Handicapped and Able-Bodied (PHAB) member Erika Mentz from Germany and other PHAB members at a dance at Devonshire House

  • 1969 also saw Savile begin volunteering at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital for specialist spinal injuries. He would later be given a room there

  • Jimmy Savile presenting a cheque to children on behalf of the NSPCC in 1969

  • The 1970s saw Savile start volunteering at Leeds General Infirmary and...

  • ... Broadmoor secure high-security psychiatric hospital. Allegations by former patients have been made against Savile although ex-workers have disputed the idea that he could have been left alone with anyone whilst working there

  • The 70s also saw the start of Jim'll Fix It. Allegations from this period include Caroline Moore, a 13-year-old patient at Stoke Mandeville hospital in 1971, who says Savile "rammed his tongue" down her throat and another allegation accuses Savile of molesting a brain-damaged teenage patient at Leeds General Infirmary in 1972

  • The 1980s saw the continuation of Top of the Pops and Jim'll Fix It as Savile became a much loved household name. Two allegations relating to this time include one from a then-15-year-old girl (not pictured) who made a complaint of abuse by Savile in Lancashire. Pictured is 12-year-old Rebecca Heap

  • Savile at the Stoke Mandeville hospital with injured children from Beirut in 1987

  • Savile was knighted in 1990 and continued his charity work throughout the decade

  • Savile was questioned in 2007 by police about allegations of sexual abuse but the Crown Prosecution service says there is not enough evidence to warrant a prosecution

  • A 2008 police report into abuse at the Haut de Garenne children's home in Jersey names Savile, although this is never made public

  • Savile re-united with his Jim'll Fix It chair in 2009. The previous year Sussex police received a complaint of sexual assault but went on to say the victim was "unwilling to co-operate in any investigation"

  • Jimmy Savile is found dead at the age of 84 in October 2011. He is buried in Scarborough

  • In December 2011 the BBC drop an investigation by Newsnight into the allegations of sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile. Three tribute programmes are aired instead

  • ITV airs a documentary, 'Exposure, the Other Side of Jimmy Savile', in which a number of women claim they were abused by Savile as youngsters, including Karin Ward (pictured)

  • Within days of the documentary, many more allegations surface. By the 9 October Peter Spindler of the Metropolitan Police tells the BBC: "It is quite clear from what women are telling us that Savile was a predatory sex offender"

  • 11 October 2012 and George Entwistle, Director General of the BBC, asks journalists why the Newsnight programme was dropped as police from Tayside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and North Yorkshire police say they are investigating allegations going back to 1959

  • 12 October and police reveal they have 340 potential lines of inquiry

  • 15 October sees a man come forward alleging that Savile abused him when he was a nine-year-old boyscout

  • Savile's family removed his headstone from his grave and broke it up in the wake of the furore

  • Jimmy Savile sexually abuses transgender man

    A transgender man comes forward alleging that Jimmy Savile 'stuck his hand up his nightdress' while he was a 17-year-old teenage girl at Broadmoor in the 1970's. More here http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/15/jimmy-savile-timeline-abuse-allegations_n_1966426.html?1350304573#slide=1641388