26/10/2012 08:49 BST

Jimmy Savile Sex Abuse Scandal: Police Prepare To Make Arrests With Household Names 'To Be Questioned'

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."