After 50 years it's emerged that one of Jimmy Savile's first victims was told by Cheshire Police to 'move on' and 'get over it.'
The national inspectorate of police forces says the incident was the first of many missed opportunities that allowed the TV presenter to abuse children for 50 years. Rob Smith reports
Cheshire and Merseyside Police have been criticised over the way they handled allegations of abuse by Jimmy Savile. The report says the earliest known complaint was in Cheshire in 1963.
The chief constable of the Greater Manchester force has warned the failings identified in the case could happen again.
Sir Peter Fahy, the chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, has echoed the warning in today’s HMIC report into Jimmy Savile that a failure to share intelligence on a prolific offender could happen again.
He also criticised searching for individual members of staff to blame rather than “addressing some of the fundamental underlying issues".
Although we now have had a police national database operational since 2011 to enable forces to share intelligence it has to be acknowledged that having 43 separate police forces in England and Wales and no national headquarters for policing makes achieving consistent national standards all the more difficult...
When links are identified which cross force boundaries and periods of time there are some inevitable tensions in deciding which force will take on the investigation...
– Sir Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police
There is little public support for a national police force as is being created in Scotland but while localism has many strengths it does make it more difficult when cases cross boundaries and when we are trying to achieve national standards.
Drusilla Sharpling, author of the HMIC report, said there had been a failure in "joining the dots" of the seven Savile abuse references known to various British police forces during his lifetime.
She said it was a "profound concern" that "only very few people felt able to come forward" with their allegations.
HMIC expressed concern that other police forces did not deal with complaints properly with eight victims claiming that they tried, unsuccessfully, to report crimes.
This includes four who approached the Met and one each who went to police in Cheshire, Merseyside, West Yorkshire and the then Royal Ulster Constabulary respectively.
One man who came forward in 1963 in Cheshire to make an allegation of rape against Savile was told to "forget about it" and "move on", HMIC said.
Another went to Vine Street police station in London to report that his girlfriend was assaulted at a recording of Top Of The Pops and was warned that he "could be arrested for making such allegations" and sent away.
Statement from Surrey Police Assistant Chief Constable Jerry Kirkby said:
As highlighted in our internal review published in January, Surrey Police agree with and accept the HMIC conclusions that there are a number of learning points to come out of this case.
The HMIC review is clear that intelligence sharing between forces was critical to the eventual outcome of allegations made against Savile in his lifetime.
I welcome their acknowledgement that in 2007 victims were taken seriously by Surrey Police and allegations were recorded correctly but Surrey investigators were unable to benefit from the knowledge of any previous allegations made elsewhere in the country despite conducting national intelligence checks.
The review concludes that had Surrey investigators been made aware of these previous reports, our investigation would have been scaled up accordingly.
Police forces across Britain have come under fire for ignoring Jimmy Savile's abuse victims as it emerged the disgraced presenter could have been stopped as early as 1964.
In a shock warning, policing inspectors said there is a "distinct possibility" that officers could fail to prevent another Savile-like scandal from happening again.
Just five allegations and two pieces of intelligence were recorded against Savile during his lifetime, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found.
This is in stark contrast to the 450 claims made against the former Top Of The Pops presenter after Operation Yewtree was launched by Metropolitan Police in October.
The earliest record uncovered by HMIC naming Savile in connection with a sexual abuse investigation is dated 1964, but officers failed to act on the intelligence received.