'No evidence of police protection for Savile'

'No evidence of police protection for Savile'

A review into a police force’s contacts with Jimmy Savile has concluded that there is no evidence its officers protected him from arrest or prosecution.

The West Yorkshire Police (WYP) report examined the history of Savile’s relationship with the force, including reports that officers attended his well-known Friday Morning Club at his Leeds flat.

The report 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.”

The report said 68 of Savile’s victims have now come forward in the force area.

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

“All of those people spoken to who had knowledge of the Friday Morning Club described it as a ’coffee morning’.

“Non-police attendees commented on how professionally the police officers who had attended Savile’s home conducted themselves.

“Savile had friends who were police officers, but he also had friends that were solicitors, doctors and many other professions.

“All inquiries have shown that Savile was able to hide his offending from those he came into contact with and who probably thought that they knew him well.”

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

It stressed that at the time he was “seen by most of the public as a man who did good work”.

But 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 it was ``of greater concern'' that the force continued to used Savile as part of crime prevention campaigns even after it received a request from Surrey Police in 2007 to check what records were held on the broadcaster as part of its investigation into Duncroft School.

It said: “The reason for this was that the information was notshared across departments, there was no recognition of the impact of this information and no checks were made on intelligence systems in securing Savile’s services.”

It said the initial contact from Surrey Police was made through WYP’s anti-corruption unit but this was only to maintain confidentiality and there was no suggestion of corrupt relationships within WYP.

In June 2009 Surrey Police wrote to Savile asking that he make contact and it is documented that WYP offered officer support if that interview was to be in West Yorkshire.

The report said an inspector from WYP – Insp A – contacted Surrey Police control on behalf of Savile because the DJ had lost the investigating officer’s contact details.

During that conversation Insp A said he was a personal friend of Savile and also that “Jimmy gets so many of these type of complaints”.

Insp A provided a contact number to Surrey Police for Savile. The report said: “This was done by Insp A on WYP recorded communications systems but due to the passage of time therecording has now been destroyed in line with force policy at that time.”

The report said that Surrey officers said “that on initial contact, Savile had told them there was a West Yorkshire Inspector who normally deals with this sort of thing”.

The report said the investigation ``conducted extensive inquiries to establish if any allegation of sexual abuse by Savile had been reported to WYP during his lifetime''.

It 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.”

Despite numerous interviews, system searches and inquiries with other agencies, the review team found no evidence of any previous allegations being made to WYP against Savile, or of any investigations being conducted.

“The force does recognise that some people may have difficulty in reconciling this fact; indeed WYP has difficulty in reconciling this, as since October 2012, 68 victims have come forward to report Savile’s abuse in the West Yorkshire area.”

The report said none of the victims currently identified had previously reported their abuse to WYP.The report said: “The review did find that mistakes were made in how WYP recorded and handled some intelligence relating to Savile.”

The review also examined suggestions Savile was a “person of interest” in the Yorkshire Ripper inquiry in the 1970s. It found that many records has been destroyed but they had found thousands of record cards with information about men who had been spoken to.

The report said: “They contain scant information and do notindicate whether Savile was a ’person of interest’ to the inquiry team.

“The information held was his name, date of birth, home address and various reference numbers. It was not possible to establish the relevance of the reference numbers as a large proportion of the investigation paperwork had been destroyed in the 1980s.”

But the review said: “One card does make reference to Savile offering his services as an intermediary for the police, should the ’Ripper’ wish to make contact.”

Alan Collins, who represents more than 40 of Savile's victims, said he was ``not impressed''.

He told ITV’s Daybreak: “The report begs a lot more questions.

“It provides some answers but the report reveals memories that are not as sharp as perhaps they ought to be, ’can’t remember’, documents that can’t seem to be located.

“It doesn’t add up.”

Mr Collins said: “It seems to me that West Yorkshire Police over the years failed to join up the dots. They had intelligence that something wasn’t right, if I can put it as mildly as that, and, against that background, they were using Savile for crime prevention campaigns and so on.

“So he’s been given this aura of respectability again and again actually by West Yorkshire Police.”

He said: “There are many, many excellent police officers. But my take is that there seems to be a collective myopia and the collective myopia is evidenced by Savile.

“Savile was able to run rings around the police for decades. He used police officers.

“He was engrained with them, dovetailed with them.”

Jon Christopher, of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, said people would ask precisely what was ``going on'' between Savile and senior police officers.

He told BBC Breakfast: “I think people will look at it and think ’what is going on there?’.

“Because clearly he has been involved with a lot of officers and not just police officers, but other professionals as well.

“Nevertheless, it’s the police officers who are in the light with this one and clearly the lessons have to be learned from that, if he was under suspicion in other force areas that something could and should have been done at that time.”

Mr Christopher added of the officers concerned: “I think the problem we’ve got there is the people themselves will know what relationships they had and the extent of those relationships and if there is nothing recorded anywhere I think it is extremely difficult to prove otherwise.”

He added that people may draw the conclusion that nothing was written down on paper about the entertainer because of who he was.

Assistant Chief Constable Ingrid Lee said in her introduction to the report: ``There is no doubt that police forces made mistakes in relation to sharing and keeping information relating to Savile so no single clear picture of his offending could be made.

“As Savile’s home police force, WYP would have been the obvious place to collect all such information, but investigation has shown that much of the available information during Savile’s lifetime was never shared with WYP and, when it was WYP, did not connect the events to recognise a potential pattern of offending.

“We must do everything we can to understand why that was, to ensure it does not happen again.”

Ms Lee said this review was started “to separate myth and rumour from fact”.

She said: “When taken in context, Savile lived for over 80 years as an individual who has duped millions into believing that he was a genuine celebrity, a charity fundraiser and a harmless eccentric who did nothing but good in our communities.

“However, evidence now suggests that he was a predatory paedophile and manipulative liar who caused harm to so many.

“It is clear that many people felt unable to report these dreadful crimes to West Yorkshire Police or to one of the many agencies specially trained to independently receive such complaints.

“It is also clear that Savile’s celebrity status and victims’ fear of not being believed because of his standing within the community as a high profile and successful individual was a barrier toreporting.”

The senior officer said: “We will never know the totality of Savile’s offending but we must never allow this to happen again.”

The investigation found Savile's youngest victim in West Yorkshire was five years old.

Its analysis of the 68 victims who have come forward found 72 of the 76 recorded crimes were in Leeds itself.

Almost half of these crimes were against people aged 14 to 17, but nine victims were nine-years-old or under and a further nine were aged 10 to 13.

The figures showed 49 victims were female and 19 were male.

Most of the offences were committed in the 1960s or 70s and the range of reported offences included rape, sexual activity with a child under 13 and indecent exposure.

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