Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

More missed chances to stop Savile

West Yorkshire Police instigated a review of all past contact with Jimmy Savile

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.

The 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. 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."

Mr 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."

West Yorkshire's Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Ingrid Lee said Savile used his celebrity status to "dupe" the police. She said: "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."

The 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.

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