Jimmy Savile: BBC boss urges staff to come forward over 'abuse'

Sir Jimmy Savile The Met Police is investigating claims against Sir Jimmy Savile on a UK-wide basis

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The BBC's new director general George Entwistle has urged BBC staff to "come forward" and talk to police if they have any information about alleged sexual abuses by Sir Jimmy Savile.

In an email to staff, Mr Entwistle added he was "appalled" by the allegations made in an ITV documentary about the former presenter.

No complaints were received by the BBC at the time of the alleged abuses.

Scotland Yard is leading an "assessment" of the allegations.

Five women alleged that Sir Jimmy sexually assaulted them as teenagers in the documentary on Wednesday.

'Criminal allegations'

Analysis

Scotland Yard is looking into allegations of sexual abuse against someone who is now dead.

While there will never be a trial, it shows the Met is taking the complaints seriously and may bring closure to the alleged victims.

The fact that most of the complaints relate to alleged crimes dating back more than 40 years is not something the police would dismiss or find impossible to investigate.

But in this unusual case, part of the Met's assessment will be whether anyone else, still alive, was allegedly involved.

And if so, is there enough evidence to secure a conviction.

Then there is the issue of compensation.

Will the alleged victims have grounds to sue for damages against the late Jimmy Savile's estate?

The police will also look into whether records exist of any historic complaints of sexual abuse against the star and if so, how they dealt with them.

It may not just be the BBC that is concerned about reputation damage.

Mr Entwistle revealed in the email he had "personally been in touch" with senior police officers and said he had agreed to work closely with them, but the corporation would not be running its own internal investigation at this stage.

"The police are the only people with the proper powers to assess criminal allegations, and they have made it clear to me that any BBC internal enquiry in parallel would run the risk of damaging or impeding their work," he said.

Mr Entwistle added that a "thorough search" of the BBC's written records had been carried out, but "crucially and regrettably" no complaints were made at the time.

"We have found nothing at this stage to suggest any known wrong-doing was ignored by management. But our checks are ongoing and if we do find anything relevant we will give it straight to the police," the BBC's new boss added.

A statement from the Metropolitan Police confirmed officers had met officials from the BBC who were "fully co-operating with detectives".

"We are now collating information gathered from a range of sources across the UK and will continue contacting individuals who have made allegations in relation to the late Jimmy Savile over the coming weekend.

"We do not expect to have a clear picture of exactly how many women may have suffered abuse until next week and want to allow time for victims to reflect on what they may have experienced."

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