Police Failed to Communicate About Jimmy Savile Allegations

U.K. police around the country failed to share details of allegations of sexual abuse against Jimmy Savile, allowing the former British Broadcasting Corp. television star’s crimes to go undetected during his lifetime.

In addition to communication failures, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary said in a report today that only five allegations of sexual assault related to Savile were made to police between 1955 and 2009, raising “serious concerns over why so many victims felt unable to come forward.”

Savile, who died in 2011 at the age of 84, committed more than 200 criminal sexual-abuse offenses at the BBC, over a dozen hospitals, mental homes and a hospice, the Metropolitan Police Service said in a separate report in January. The Crown Prosecution Service said it could have filed three cases against Savile in 2008 if police had conducted investigations properly.

“The case against Savile would have been better informed and made more compelling if the various strands had been brought together in one investigation,” and given to prosecutors “as a whole,” the HMIC, which assesses police forces across the country, said in its report today.

The report, commissioned by Home Secretary Theresa May, examined five allegations of criminal conduct and two pieces of “intelligence information,” made against Savile at different U.K. police forces while he was alive.

‘Jim’ll Fix It’

Savile, who starred on BBC shows including “Top of the Pops” and “Jim’ll Fix It,” engaged in the conduct until at least two years before his death when he put his hand up the skirt of a 43-year-old woman on a train, the MPS has said. His youngest victim was an 8-year-old boy and most were girls between 13 and 16.

The CPS said earlier this month that it would start a panel to re-investigate historic allegations of misconduct that police chose not to pursue.

“The findings in this report are of deep concern, and clearly there were mistakes,” Drusilla Sharpling, an HMIC inspector, said in an e-mailed statement. “More needs to be done, and it is neither enough nor correct to say ‘this couldn’t happen now.’”

The BBC was plunged into crisis after competitor ITV Plc aired a story in October about five women who said they were abused by Savile, which triggered the police investigation. Former BBC Director General George Entwistle stepped down Nov. 10 as a result of the scandal, which includes claims the BBC dropped an earlier news investigation into Savile’s abuse and instead aired tributes following his death.

The Metropolitan Police Service said there were lessons to be learned from the “landmark” case.

“Although we are satisfied our officers followed the correct procedures in place at the time, HMIC have rightly highlighted the complexities of managing police information nationally,” the police force said.

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