Predatory paedophile Jimmy Savile could have been stopped as early as 1964 if police had been able to “join the dots”, a damning report has found.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary said it had serious concerns about a catalogue of mistakes made by police forces who dismissed victims and mishandled evidence.
During his lifetime only five allegations and two pieces of intelligence were recorded against Savile.
In stark contrast, more than 600 people have come forward since Operation Yewtree was launched last year after the disgraced presenter’s death.
HM Inspector of Constabulary, Drusilla Sharpling, said: “The findings in this report are of deep concern, and clearly there were mistakes in how the police handled the allegations made against Savile during his lifetime.
“However, an equally profound problem is that victims felt unable to come forward and report crimes of sexual abuse.”
Questions relating to the relationship between West Yorkshire Police and Savile have been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) amid on going speculation about the so-called Friday Morning Club.
It has been alleged that Savile had weekly meetings with influential police officers at his flat in Roundhay, Leeds.
There are currently 30 live West Yorkshire Police investigations relating to Savile that were passed on by Operation Yewtree.
Others cases are still being reviewed and may be passed to the Force.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Ingrid Lee said: “It’s important to remember that Savile was, for many years a high profile public figure, who duped people into believing he was a harmless eccentric and charity fundraiser, when in fact he was a predatory paedophile.
“It’s right that those victims whose voices haven’t been heard in the past are now offered the utmost care and that future victims don’t feel afraid to come forward. The support, not just from the police, but from other agencies, has never been greater.
“We also understand why people want to know about West Yorkshire Police officers’ historic involvement with Savile. We have to separate the myth and rumour from that fact and I hope that our public facing report will provide the answers and reassurance people want.”