The U.K. watchdog reviewing police failures to uncover sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile before he died said an ex-cop may have intervened on behalf of the British Broadcasting Corp. television star in a 2009 probe.
A former police inspector in West Yorkshire, England, may have contacted counterparts in Surrey, near London, before they interviewed the TV host, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said in a statement today on its website, without giving a name.
“All the forces that may have had intelligence concerning the late Jimmy Savile should now go back and consider all the relevant information and materials they possess,” Rachel Cerfontyne, the IPCC’s commissioner, said in the statement. The details will be used to determine whether former police officers should be investigated, the agency said.
The BBC was plunged into crisis after competitor ITV Plc aired a story in October alleging Savile abused young girls decades ago. George Entwistle, then director general of the BBC, stepped down the next month after revelations the publicly- funded broadcaster had dropped its own probe into Savile’s abuse by the BBC news division. Instead it aired tributes following his death in October 2011, at the age of 84. Savile was known for hosting the BBC’s “Top of the Pops” program and for his charity work with children.
Savile wasn’t prosecuted while he was alive, even after four women made reports to Surrey Police and another department in 2007 and 2008, in which they described abuse when they were children. Criminal charges against Savile could have been filed if the cases had been handled properly, the Crown Prosecution Service said in a report last month.
West Yorkshire police referred the former officer to the IPCC after the regulator asked seven departments for information about past probes into Savile, the watchdog said.
U.K. police said in a separate report last month that Savile committed more than 200 criminal offenses at BBC premises, in schools and in more than a dozen hospitals, mental homes and a hospice. Other offenses are still being investigated.
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