Radical measures have been agreed in a bid to stop serial paedophiles like Jimmy Savile slipping through the criminal justice system’s net.
The fresh approach to inquiries into allegations of child abuse was set out by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, and the Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead on violence and public protection, Chief Constable David Whatton.
Plans include new training and guidance for police and prosecutors as well as the formation of a panel to review cases where investigations into alleged abuse have not been pursued.
The shake-up follows revelations that the authorities missed a number of chances to bring Leeds-born sex predator Savile to justice before his death in 2011 at the age of 84.
Mr Starmer said: “We cannot afford another Savile moment in five or 10 years’ time.” He added: “We are clear that the yardsticks for testing the credibility and reliability of victims in sexual abuse cases do not serve the police or prosecutors well.”
The CPS and ACPO agreed:
* A clearing of the decks in relation to policy and guidance. All existing policy will be decommissioned, with one overarching and agreed approach to investigation and prosecution of sexual offences to be applicable in all police forces and agreed by the CPS;
* Training will ensure there is no gap between policy and practice. The training will be hands-on and provide practical advice to police and prosecutors on matters such as when a complainant can and should be told about other complaints;
* To propose the formation of a national ‘scoping panel’, which will review complaints made in the past which were not pursued by police and prosecutors, if requested.
A report released in January by the NSPCC and Metropolitan Police confirmed BBC TV and radio presenter Savile as one of the UK’s most prolific known sexual predators. It laid out shocking details of more than 200 offences that formed a campaign of abuse spanning six decades.