Savile police report reveals 'missed opportunities'

A British police report which found no evidence that late BBC star Jimmy Savile was protected from prosecution by officers revealed "yet more potential missed opportunities" to detain him over sex abuse claims while he was alive, a children's charity head said Friday.

Television presenter Savile was a household name in Britain but since his death in October 2011 hundreds of allegations of rape and sexual assault have emerged against him, many involving under-age girls.

A review by West Yorkshire Police, the force responsible for Savile's hometown of Leeds in northern England, examined his ties to the police -- including that officers attended a regular "Friday Morning Club" at his flat.

"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," the report concluded.

But Peter Watt, director of child protection advice and support at British charity the NSPCC, said the review showed police had missed chances to apprehend Savile before his death.

"This report reveals yet more potential missed opportunities by the police to catch Savile whilst he was still alive and there are clearly some questions to answer," Watt said.

"However, this is not just about poor record keeping and a lack of joining the dots by the police.

"Victims were ignored by many people and Savile was therefore allowed to commit horrific abuse against young and vulnerable children across six separate decades."

A lawyer representing more than 40 of Savile's victims said the report was full of details of retired officers failing to remember incidents and documents which had been lost or destroyed -- a picture that "doesn't add up".

"There was intelligence, but that intelligence wasn't shared or used, so Savile was able to run rings around police forces," Alan Collins told BBC radio.

"There's collective myopia. The trail of evidence goes back to the late 1950s, and you have got a series of incidents over the decades, some referred to by Savile quite openly.

"He was brazen. He seems to have considered himself immune from any kind of scrutiny."

The report said 68 of Savile's victims have now come forward in West Yorkshire.

The review said that Savile "was able to hide his offending from those he came into contact with and who probably thought that they knew him well."

Officers who attended the regular Friday meetings at Savile's penthouse in Leeds "described it as a 'coffee morning'" and there was no evidence of impropriety, the review said.

But the police probe did criticise the way that Savile -- a distinctive figure with his jangly jewellery, ever-present cigar and shiny tracksuits -- was recruited to front publicity campaigns and appeals for West Yorkshire Police.

It highlighted "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."

In January a national police investigation branded Savile as one of Britain's worst ever sex offenders, finding that he had abused youngsters as young as eight over more than 50 years on BBC premises, in schools and hospitals, the investigation found.

A report by policing inspectors in March found that police across the country ignored abuse claims against Savile for half a century.