Dave Higgens — The Independent May 10, 2013
A lawyer for victims of Jimmy Savile has said that a report which concluded there is no evidence he was protected by police officers “doesn’t add up”.
The West Yorkshire Police (WYP) report, published today, examined the history of the DJ and TV presenter’s relationship with the force, including how officers attended his well-known Friday Morning Club at his Leeds flat.
But 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.”
But Alan Collins, who represents 40 victims of the disgraced broadcaster, said: “Savile was able to run rings around the police for decades. He used police officers.”
Mr Collins told ITV’s Daybreak: “”He was engrained with them, dovetailed with them.
“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.”
The report said 68 of Savile’s victims have now come forward in the force area. None came forward in his lifetime.
The youngest of these was five years old at the time and eight others were aged nine or under.
The report said: “No evidence has been found to conclude that there was any impropriety or misconduct in relation to the Friday Morning Club.”
The report also examined the way in which WYP used Savile’s celebrity status to front a range of campaigns and appeals.
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 abuse at Duncroft School.
The report 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 West Yorkshire Police against Savile.
It said: “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.”
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.”
Ms Lee said the 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.”
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.”