PREDATORY paedophile Jimmy Savile fronted local crime-prevention campaigns even after police were told by another force that he was being investigated over alleged sex offences, according to a report.
The West Yorkshire Police (WYP) review, set up to look at the police force’s contacts with the former BBC entertainer, found officers were friends with Savile and they regularly joined him for “coffee mornings” at his Leeds flat.
The 59-page report released yesterday also revealed that Savile’s youngest victim was just five years old and eight others were aged nine or under.
The report, named Operation Newgreen, said there was “no evidence” that the DJ was protected from arrest or prosecution as a result of his friendships with officers, some of whom met regularly for gatherings dubbed the “Friday Morning Club.”
The report said before his death, Savile was seen as a celebrity fundraiser and harmless eccentric. However, after his death in 2011, hundreds of witnesses and victims came forward accusing him of sexual abuse. Police have since described him as a serial sexual predator.
WYP said there were “currently 76 crimes, involving 68 victims, committed in the West Yorkshire area relating to Savile”, but claimed none of these were reported to the force before his death.
Assistant chief constable Ingrid Lee yesterday admitted: “We did fail victims.”
She added: “They didn’t know, the people engaged with Jimmy Savile, that actually there were these allegations against him. That’s what our investigations found out.
“There clearly was information available that we should have tied together and we did fail victims in relation to tying that evidence together and we should have done.
“If he were alive today, there’s absolutely no doubt that he would have had a number of questions to answer.”
She said that while no evidence of cover-ups had emerged, intelligence that the force did receive about Savile’s behaviour was not recorded on the force’s electronic database.
She added that the information “wasn’t handled as it should have been or as I would have expected it to have been”.
Yesterday’s review examined the history of Savile’s relationship with WYP, including reports that officers attended his well-known Friday Morning Club at his Leeds flat.
The report said: “No evidence has been found to conclude that there was any impropriety or misconduct in relation to the Friday Morning Club.”
A trawl of police records also found that Savile had offered his services as an “intermediary” in the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe in the 1970s.
Savile’s name was mentioned on four index cards, according to the report, but there was no indication that he was of interest to the inquiry team.
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 not shared 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.”
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”.
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.