Police failings over BBC's Savile exposed in UK report

Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:01am EDT
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By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - British police made numerous mistakes that let the late BBC TV presenter Jimmy Savile get away with unprecedented numbers of sex attacks over six decades, and such failings could be repeated, a report by inspectors said on Tuesday.

Savile was one of Britain's biggest TV stars in the 1970s and 1980s, but revelations after his death in November 2011 about his activities stunned Britons and destroyed his reputation as an eccentric charity fundraiser.

Police say he took advantage of his fame to commit 214 offenses, including 34 rapes or serious sexual assaults, beginning as long ago as 1955.

Despite the extent of his crimes, the body which carries out independent inspections of police forces said errors by officers meant he was never prosecuted.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary said just five official allegations were recorded against Savile along with two pieces of intelligence about him.

The earlier of those dated back to 1964, when an entry was made on an intelligence ledger held by London Metropolitan Police's pedophile unit.

In the second case, an anonymous letter sent to the Met in 1998 was classified as "sensitive" because of Savile's celebrity status, meaning other detectives did not have access to it.

Five complaints came forward during the 2000s but officers failed to "join the dots", and eight other victims said they had tried unsuccessfully to report incidents to police.   Continued...

British entertainer Sir Jimmy Savile arrives at the unveiling of a new monument, commemorating the fighter pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain 65 year ago, on the Victoria Embankment in central London, September 18, 2005. REUTERS/Paul Hackett