COUNTY NEWS: Sussex Police criticised over Jimmy Savile investigation

County news
County news

DETECTIVES investigating a Worthing sexual assault allegation made against notorious paedophile Jimmy Savile ‘frightened off’ the victim from going to court, according to an investigation.

A report released today (May 12) by the Independent Police Complaints Commission details an investigation into the way four Worthing CID officers handled a 2008 allegation made by a woman, named in the report as ‘Mrs A’.

Our current policy on the investigation of sexual offences, twice updated since 2008, now fully takes into account all the issues raised by the IPCC report

Sussex Police spokesman

A detective sergeant and detective constable visited Mrs A and her partner Mr B in 2008 after Mrs A contacted police.

“Mrs A and Mr B both described the negative impact the interaction with Officer A and Officer B had on Mrs A and her subsequent decision not to support a police investigation,” said the IPCC report, “however, both officers have little memory of their interaction with them.”

The report says the officers ‘have no specific memory and refused to answer any questions during their interview with the IPCC, which perhaps would have assisted in providing some clarity on the matter’.

“Mrs A and Mr B both described how they were ‘frightened off’ by their interaction with the officers, particularly with regards to their comments about having to attend the High Court in London where the best lawyers in the country hired by Savile would make ‘mincemeat’ out of her.”

The alleged attack took place in the 1970s after Mrs A met Savile at a Chelsea Pensioners’ event at Worthing Town Hall. She said it took place in his caravan at the location.

The IPCC has made a number of recommendations in light of its findings about how Sussex Police should handle sexual assault allegations.

UPDATE

Sussex Police pledged an ‘ever-more coordinated’ approach to sexual assault investigations, following criticism by the police watchdog.

“We co-operated fully with the IPCC investigation announced in June last year, their report on which is published today, and we note they agree wth our view that the four officers referred to have no case to answer for misconduct,” said a spokesman.

He said the IPCC agreed with the force this matter ‘was not a conduct issue, but a performance issue’.

“Our current policy on the investigation of sexual offences, twice updated since 2008, now fully takes into account all the issues raised by the IPCC report,” he said.

“And this year we are bringing together the investigation of all sexual offences into our specialist safeguarding investigation units which already investigate all other reports of child and adult abuse. This is helping ensure an ever more co-ordinated and consistent approach to all such investigations.”

This document is available to view here.

“The policy was updated long prior to, and not as a result of, this investigation,” he added.”

The officers were not suspended during the IPCC investigation and continue to work as operational CID officers.