Friday 28 July 2017

Huge scale of fall-out from Savile police probe is revealed

Jimmy Savile after he received his knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 1996. Picture: Jim James/PA Wire
Jimmy Savile after he received his knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 1996. Picture: Jim James/PA Wire

Dean Gray in London

More than 1,400 people including politicians, TV and music stars and people within institutions have been investigated by UK police for alleged historic child sex abuse, it has been revealed.

The British National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) said it has seen a surge in the number of reports of abuse following the Jimmy Savile scandal in 2012.

Laying bare the sheer scale of the alleged abuse, police revealed they estimate they will receive around 116,000 reports of abuse by the end of 2015 - a 71pc increase from 2012.

And the claims cut to the very heart of UK society, with schools, religious institutions, children's homes and sports clubs all implicated.

According to the figures, 1,433 suspects have been identified, and these include 261 "people of public prominence". Of these, 76 are politicians, 135 come from the world of TV, film or radio, 43 are from the music industry and seven are from sport. And all are believed to be men.

Officers have identified 357 different institutions linked to the alleged abuse, including 154 schools, 75 children's homes, 40 religious institutions and nine prisons.

Police and experts in child sex abuse said the figures were just the "tip of the iceberg" and many more people would have been abused.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the NPCC's lead for child abuse, said: "The referrals are increasing on an almost daily basis so the numbers I refer to today are a snapshot in time."

He added the scale of child abuse "is stark".

He said: "There is no doubt in my mind that the Savile effect has played a significant part in giving victims the confidence to come forward and report abuse.

"The service now looks upon child abuse very differently and victims are getting and can now expect a very different response.

"But these figures do raise the question, is more abuse being perpetrated? I don't have the evidence at this moment in time to prove this one way or another.

"But I do know that the internet is being abused in a manner for which it was never intended.

"And as a result I cannot help but think that more abuse is in fact being perpetrated.

"More research is going to be needed to prove this one way or another."

He said no figures were available to give the number of victims, but "it's fair to say that it is going to run into the thousands".

Mr Bailey said forces were having to shift resources from other departments to focus on historic sex crimes.

The figures come from a new police coordinating hub known as Operation Hydrant, established last summer.

The figures have been taken from police forces across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and relate to reports of sex abuse alleged to have taken place a year before it was reported.

They refer to reports of abuse, or live investigations into abuse, police across the UK were dealing with around five days ago.

Irish Independent

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