“Formal criminal investigation” launched into Savile

Savile on the public benches at the top of McBean Steps next to Scarborough's Grand Hotel.

Savile on the public benches at the top of McBean Steps next to Scarborough's Grand Hotel.

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The Metropolitan Police has launched a “formal criminal investigation” into historic allegations of child sex abuse relating to the Jimmy Savile scandal.

More than 200 victims had now come forward since it launched Operation Yewtree, which followed the broadcast of ITV’s Exposure documentary unearthing Savile’s alleged paedophilia.

Two of the victims claim to have been assaulted in Scarborough in the late 1960s and 1980s.

Scotland Yard is now following up 400 separate lines of inquiry involving alleged abusers both living and dead.

It has also given the BBC the go ahead to begin its own independent investigation into the allegations, to run alongside the police inquiry.

Met Commander Peter Spindler said: “The public’s response to this issue has been astounding. We are dealing with alleged abuse on an unprecedented scale.

“The profile of this operation has empowered a staggering number of victims to come forward to report the sexual exploitation which occurred during their childhood.

“I am pleased that victims feel confident enough to speak out about the abuse they suffered and would like to reassure the public that we take all these cases very seriously and they will be investigated with the utmost sensitivity.

“Anyone with information or concerns should call NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.”

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Operation Yewtree, the inquiry into alleged child sexual exploitation by the late Jimmy Savile and others, has moved from an assessment to a formal criminal investigation.

“After two weeks of gathering information from both the public and a number of organisations, in excess of 400 lines of enquiry have been assessed and over 200 potential victims have been identified.

“As we have said from the outset, our work was never going to take us into a police investigation into Jimmy Savile. What we have established in the last two weeks is that there are lines of inquiry involving living people that require formal investigation.

“We acknowledge the appointment of Dame Janet Smith to lead the BBC commissioned review into this matter and recognise her need to progress this important work.

“We are now in a position to advise the BBC that they can ask the chair of the BBC Executive Board, Dame Fiona Reynolds, to begin the review to run parallel to our investigation. We will develop a protocol to ensure any future potential criminal action is not jeopardised.”