Former police inspector investigated over Jimmy Savile

Jimmy Savile
Image caption Sexual abuse allegations against Jimmy Savile emerged after his death

An ex-policeman is being investigated over claims he "acted on behalf" of Jimmy Savile before the TV presenter was interviewed by officers.

The former police inspector is accused of contacting Surrey Police in 2009 during an inquiry into historical sex abuse allegations against Savile.

He has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) by West Yorkshire Police.

Savile allegedly abused hundreds of people during 60 years in showbusiness.

'Known personally'

In October 2009, Savile was interviewed under caution by Surrey Police about alleged sexual offences involving teenage girls in the 1970s, but no further action was taken against him.

BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw says during the inquiry a police inspector from West Yorkshire contacted Surrey to say he was "known personally" to Savile and passed on the late presenter's phone number.

"During the police interview, Savile named an inspector and said police had been to his home for tea. The IPCC is examining whether the actions of the police inspector who contacted Surrey amounted to misconduct," he said.

Surrey Police's investigation into claims against Savile - known as Operation Ornament - began on 13 May 2007 and concluded on 30 October 2009 with no further action.

Following Savile's death in 2011 and further abuse claims, a report into the way Surrey Police dealt with the allegations was published last month. In the report, the former police inspector from West Yorkshire is referred to as Inspector 5.

The inspector contacted Surrey Police on 8 June 2009 and explained that Savile had lost the contact details of one of the investigating officers.

The report says: "Inspector 5 then passed a telephone number to Inspector 12 advising that Savile can be contacted and possibly seen tomorrow at Stoke Mandeville Hospital...

"Inspector 12 outlined the conversation with Inspector 5 and made reference to the fact that he was known personally to Savile and that Savile gets many of these complaints."

The IPCC has asked seven forces, including West Yorkshire, to consider if any other officers should be investigated over the way they handled complaints against Jimmy Savile.

The other forces are Surrey, Sussex, Thames Valley, Greater Manchester, the Metropolitan Police and Lancashire.

The decision follows the IPCC's review of recently published reports - Operation Yewtree, a Scotland Yard inquiry established in the wake of the Savile scandal, the Crown Prosecution Service report by Alison Levitt QC and Operation Ornament.

Intelligence review

In addition, the IPCC also reviewed information supplied by West Yorkshire Police, Sussex Police and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC). The inspectorate is preparing a report for the home secretary on information known to the police and the response to historical allegations of criminal conduct in relation to Savile.

IPCC commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: "Having had the opportunity to assess all the information that is available to us, I directed West Yorkshire Police to record and refer the conduct of a former inspector.

"Furthermore, I believe that all the forces that may have had intelligence concerning the late Jimmy Savile should now go back and consider all the relevant information and materials they possess that may highlight any recordable conduct issues for the IPCC to assess."

Mark Burns-Williamson, police and crime commissioner for West Yorkshire, welcomed the IPCC's involvement.

"It is vitally important that the people of West Yorkshire and elsewhere understand what happened and the role that the police played during the many years that Savile lived in West Yorkshire and committed such shocking crimes here and throughout the UK," he said.

Savile, who died in 2011 aged 84, was a Radio 1 DJ and the presenter of the Jim'll Fix It show on BBC One.

Last month a Metropolitan Police report said he had abused adults and children across the country over decades. Children's charity NSPCC said Savile had been one of the most prolific sex offenders in its 129-year history.