HMIC Report released on Jimmy Savile CaseCurrent affairs
A damning report released this morning by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate Constabulary (HMIC) about police failings in the Jimmy Savile case concluded that “mistakes were made” and that the police “failed to connect the dots”.
The report revealed that allegations were made against Savile as early as 1964 and despite five complaints of abuse spanning nearly four decades to different police forces, no formal charges were ever brought against Savile in his lifetime.
A press release by HMIC states: “While there were systems and processes available that could have enabled the three forces involved to ‘join the dots’ and spot patterns, these were used either incorrectly, or not at all. This resulted in a series of failings: to understand the potential depth of Savile’s criminality; to encourage victims to come forward; and to bring about an appropriate prosecution.”
One victim, who reported that he was raped by Savile, was told to “forget about it” by Cheshire Police. The Metropolitan Police said in a press release responding to the report that it was “satisfied” its officers had followed the “correct procedures at the time”, despite one man who reported Savile abusing his girlfriend to the Met reportedly being threatened with arrest for “making such allegations”.
HM Inspector of Constabulary, Drusilla Sharpling, admitted to the BBC that Savile’s celebrity status probably played a part in police failings, and that officers “[behaved] with an extra sense of caution because of the power he wielded”.
She also said in a public statement on the HMIC website that it would be “neither enough nor correct to say ‘This couldn’t happen now’”.
The other grave concern raised by the report is the reluctance of victims to come forward. The report said that the relatively few cases recorded before Savile’s death was in “stark contrast” to the 600 or more cases of abuse reported since 2012.
The report found that it was a “serious concern” that so few victims felt confident that action would be taken.
The report only adds to a growing body of evidence pointing to the police’s mishandling of cases of rape and abuse, and calls into question how victims are treated. Had police listened to victims and acted more decisively, perhaps hundreds of victims could have been spared their ordeals.