The police watchdog has began examining the police’s dealings with Jimmy Savile, as it promises to help expose “a catalogue of institutional failings” that left the TV star free to molest hundreds of people.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission said an investigation had begun into a police inspector from the West Yorkshire force who may have “acted on behalf” of Savile ahead of an interview by detectives from the Surrey force.
The IPCC is also asking a total of seven forces to examine their files to see if there are any concerns about the way their officers dealt with Savile and related matters.
The Guardian understands this is in part triggered by material passed to the IPCC by an inquiry already under way into police dealings with Savile. That inquiry is being conducted by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, and was ordered by the home secretary.
Savile attacked hundreds of people, including children, across several decades of sexual offending. Police say re-investigation has led them to record over 200 offences.
Failings by police and prosecutors meant the one chance to bring Jimmy Savile to justice while he was alive was lost, the director of public prosecution has admitted.
Official reports already released revealed that police across the country – including the Metropolitan police, Surrey, Sussex and Savile’s home force, West Yorkshire – failed to share information, in some cases failed to record allegations against him and in other cases even warned victims off.
When Savile was finally interviewed by detectives in 2009, the encounter was “perfunctory” and he was allowed to control the proceedings, a review by Surrey police found.
Ahead of that 2009 interview, a former inspector from the West Yorkshire police contacted the Surrey force. According to a report from Surrey police, the inspector said he was known to Savile; said the entertainer had lost a number for the detectives who wanted to interview him; and passed on a number where Savile could be reached.
According to the Surrey report, when interviewed by their detectives, Savile said he knew senior police officers from Leeds, named one inspector, and said that officers had been to his home socially to have tea.
The IPCC said it will investigate the former West Yorkshire police inspector’s relationship and dealings with Savile.
In a statement the IPCC said: “The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has received a referral from West Yorkshire police in relation to the alleged actions of a former police inspector. The allegations refer to the officer having ‘acted on behalf’ of the late Jimmy Savile by contacting Surrey police ahead of a police interview in 2009.
“The referral follows a direction from the IPCC to record and refer the conduct of the former inspector, identified in a Surrey police report as ‘Inspector 5’.”
The IPCC added that it had asked seven forces to start inquiries to examine if police misconduct had helped Savile escape justice. The IPCC said: “These forces are West Yorkshire, Surrey, Sussex, Thames Valley, Greater Manchester, the Metropolitan and Lancashire police forces. They have been asked to re-look at all information relating to the late Jimmy Savile. The IPCC has asked that each force provides the relevant documents and, if they decide not to record or refer any matters, the rationale for not doing so.”
IPCC commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: “Having had the opportunity to assess all the information that is available to us, I directed West Yorkshire police to record and refer the conduct of a former inspector.
“Furthermore I believe all the forces that may have had intelligence concerning the late Jimmy Savile should now go back and consider all the relevant information and materials they possess that may highlight any recordable conduct issues for the IPCC to assess.
“A number of bodies are already working to address the deep-rooted public concern in this case and have published reports. It is now for the IPCC to assess thoroughly whether or not there are matters in relation to the conduct of individual officers that require an IPCC investigation. This may be of little comfort to victims of crime, but I hope that the IPCC can play some part in addressing what many see as a catalogue of institutional failings.”
News published on: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2013/feb/20/jimmy-savile-police-watchdog