Two reports into abuse by Jimmy Savile have exposed years of police failings, writes Judith Orr
Jimmy Savile used his wealth and power—and his close relationship with the police—to carry out serial abuse over five decades.
Two reports into the abuse published last week reveal that police failure to take complaints seriously meant that Savile was never convicted.
The Metropolitan Police report, Giving Victims a Voice, was written with the children’s charity the NSPCC.
It reports on the Metropolitan Police investigation Operation Yewtree into hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse by Savile.
The report says Savile used his “celebrity status and fundraising activity to gain uncontrolled access to vulnerable people across six decades”.
Several girls who attended Duncroft Approved School for Girls said that Savile abused them during the 1970s.
One resident described how staff there were “in awe” of Savile and said “they only got decent food when Jimmy Savile was coming”.
The second report is by the Crown Prosecution Service’s (CPS) principal legal adviser, Alison Levitt QC. She describes Savile’s defiance in the face of accusations.
Surrey police questioned Savile under caution in 2009 about the alleged abuse at Duncroft school.
The interview was set up by a West Yorkshire police officer on Savile’s behalf—enabling Savile to set the terms of the questioning.
Savile stressed his strong links with police officers, saying officers would do him “favours”.
Detective superintendent Jon Savell said that Savile “explained he has contacts within the police and whenever he receives letters alleging that he has done something wrong he gives them to contacts who ‘get rid’ of them.”
During his questioning in 2009 Savile said, “If this [these allegations] does not disappear then my policy will swing into action. I have an LLD, that’s a Doctor of Laws, not an honorary one but a real one.
“That gives me friends. If I was going to sue anyone, we would not go to a local court, we would go to the Old Bailey ‘cos my people can put time in the Old Bailey.
“I’ve alerted my legal team that they may be doing business and if we do, you ladies [the two female officers] will finish up at the Old Bailey as well.”
The CPS report explains that one victim was told by police during investigations in 2008 that Jimmy Savile was a “big celebrity”.
It said, “The police had told her that no one would believe her.
“She remembered DC T telling her that because he had plenty of money, Jimmy Savile would have the best lawyers, it would all take place in a ‘big court in London’ and his lawyers would make ‘mincemeat’ of her.
“She also got the clear impression from the police that she would be publicly branded a liar and that her name would be all over the newspapers”.
Levitt concludes, “I found it difficult not to conclude that the officers had, even if unintentionally, dissuaded her from pursuing her allegation.”