UK

Jimmy Savile Report From West Yorkshire Police Shows 'Missed Opportunities', Say Child Protection Campaigners

10/05/2013 16:00 BST

A report which concluded there is no evidence Jimmy Savile was protected by police officers reveals "yet more potential missed opportunities" to catch the disgraced broadcaster, child protection campaigners have said.

West Yorkshire Police's (WYP) review into its contacts with Savile over decades has been greeted with scepticism by some of those representing victims of the disgraced late broadcaster.

Friday's report described how the TV star would entertain police officers at his flat in Leeds and was still fronting some WYP campaigns a few years before his death.

jimmy savile

Jimmy Savile, the subject of the WYP report

But it concluded: "There is no evidence that he was protected from arrest or prosecution for any offences as a result of his relationship with WYP, or individual friendships with officers."

Peter Watt, director of the NSPCC helpline, said: "This report reveals yet more potential missed opportunities by the police to catch Savile whilst he was still alive and there are clearly some questions to answer."

Watt said: "However, this is not just about poor record keeping and a lack of joining the dots by the police.

"Victims were ignored by many people and Savile was therefore allowed to commit horrific abuse against young and vulnerable children across six separate decades."

One solicitor said the report was full of details of retired officers not remembering incidents and documents which had gone missing or been destroyed - a picture that "doesn't add up".

Alan Collins, who represents more than 40 of Savile's victims, said: "Savile was able to run rings around the police for decades."

The report said 68 of Savile's victims have now come forward in West Yorkshire. The youngest was only five-years-old at the time.

None of these people came forward in his lifetime and no evidence has been found of any allegation being made to the force at all before he died.

The report said: "The force does recognise that some people may have difficulty in reconciling this fact, indeed WYP has difficulty in reconciling this."

Lawyer Liz Duck, who represents a number of Savile's West Yorkshire victims, told Radio 5Live: "They were young, they were vulnerable and were very much of the mindframe 'Who is going to believe us?'."

Asked if she thought the police had been gullible, she said: "Clearly a lot of people were gullible and I'm sure the police were as well."

West Yorkshire's Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Ingrid Lee said she was very disappointed that no action was taken against Savile during his lifetime.

She said he used his celebrity status to "dupe" the police and added: "Savile, if he were alive, would have a lot of questions to answer."We will continue the investigations into the victims we're aware of but we'll never be able to bring the offender to justice."It does disappoint me very much."

She said that while no evidence of cover-ups has emerged, intelligence that the force did receive about Savile's behaviour was not recorded on the force's electronic database.

She added that the information "wasn't handled as it should have been or as I would have expected it to have been"."That let victims down and that's something I feel very sad about", she said.

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Friday's report was published as it was revealed almost a quarter of a million pounds has been set aside to outsource private investigators for Operation Yewtree - the Metropolitan Police inquiry into sexual abuse by Savile and others.

The West Yorkshire review looked at a range of allegations about WYP's contact with Savile, including claims made to Operation Yewtree investigators and others mentioned in a report on Savile's offending by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.

These ranged from officers attending Savile's well-known Friday Morning Club at his Leeds flat to claims he had been interviewed by officers from the Yorkshire Ripper inquiry.

The report said: "No evidence has been found to conclude that there was any impropriety or misconduct in relation to the Friday Morning Club."

In relation to the Ripper inquiry, the investigators found his name and address recorded along with thousands of other men who had been spoken to, but there was no evidence he was a "person of interest".

It did find he had offered to be an intermediary between the murderer and the police, if the Ripper made contact.

The report also examined the way in which WYP used Savile's celebrity status to front a range of campaigns and appeals.

This continued even after Surrey Police contacted the force in 2007 in relation to its investigation of Savile.

It concluded: "The review team have concerns regarding the absence of a process to secure Savile's services for some of these events and also the over-reliance on personal friendships that developed between Savile and some officers over a number of years to secure that support."

The report said: "Although rumours did exist of previous investigations taking place into allegations made against Savile, when these were explored they were found to be without any foundation."