Sussex Police among forces who missed Savile's 'pattern of behaviour', top cop admits (From The Argus)
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Sussex Police among forces who missed Savile's 'pattern of behaviour', top cop admits
5:12pm Monday 29th October 2012 in News
Britain's most senior police officer said today that sex abuse allegations made against Jimmy Savile while he was alive would have exposed "a pattern of behaviour" if they had been linked together.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said police and other organisations had not connected a number of separate claims made about Savile's allegedly predatory actions.
Seven potential victims came forward to four police forces inluding Sussex Police before the Top Of The Pops presenter died last year, but no action was taken.
Sussex, Surrey and Jersey police all found that there was not enough evidence to proceed with the allegations they received.
Mr Hogan-Howe said: "Organisations including the police have had individual allegations that have not been put together to actually show that this person may well have shown a pattern of behaviour that's been pretty awful."
It also emerged today that Savile was barred from any involvement with the BBC's Children In Need charity.
Former BBC governor Sir Roger Jones said in an interview with the broadcaster: "I think we all recognised he was a pretty creepy sort of character.
"When I was with Children In Need, we took the decision that we didn't want him anywhere near to the charity, and we just stepped up our child protection policies, which again would have put him at great risk if he tried anything."
Police are currently looking at around 300 potential victims who may have fallen prey to Savile, and pursuing more than 400 lines of inquiry.
Mr Hogan-Howe told reporters: "It does shock you. The scale of it, if you accept all the public accounts of the activity then it's possibly spanned 50 years, which is a huge amount of time."
He said that people may not have acted on their concerns about Savile because of his reputation at the time.
"You might have thought that people would at least have talked about it and intervened," Mr Hogan-Howe said.
"It does look as if from time to time people have been concerned, they've made the start to intervene. But probably then they've relied a little bit too much on his reputation and his word that he did nothing."
Two potential victims came forward to Scotland Yard - one of whom claimed she had been abused in the 1970s but did not want to pursue a criminal investigation.
Officers are trying to find the original file relating to a second claim made by another woman who alleged she was assaulted in the 1980s, possibly in a caravan outside BBC premises in west London.
The commissioner said a lot of what happened was before changes were made to the sharing of police data following the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.
A team of 30 officers are currently investigating three categories of allegations: those involving Savile, those involving Savile and others, and those involving others.
The commissioner said that most of the "others" were involved in the entertainment industry.
Peter Davies, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (Ceop), said he wanted to make sure that all possible lessons had been learned from the Savile case.
"I won't be happy until I know for certain that all the lessons that can be learned from the Savile case have now been learned," he said.
"It is a salutary warning for police practitioners of the need to keep on the alert and make sure that the many steps that have been put in place since the '70s and '80s actually are going to work as best they can.
"We are living in a different world to the 1970s in terms of our understanding of child sexual abuse and our tolerance of it."
An independent probe has now been launched into the BBC's "culture and practices" during Savile's career.
The inquiry, led by former Court of Appeal judge Dame Janet Smith, will also determine whether the broadcaster's child protection and whistle-blowing policies are up to scratch.
It comes a year to the day since Savile died aged 84 at his home in Leeds, and a day after former pop star Gary Glitter was arrested and bailed until mid-December by police investigating the Savile scandal.
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