A probe has been launched into on-duty police officers who attended weekly tea parties at Jimmy Savile’s penthouse flat.
West Yorkshire Police are quizzing members of the disgraced late entertainer’s inner circle over the so-called Friday Morning Club get-togethers.
In October the force said it had no information about officers visiting Savile’s Roundhay Park pad, but that “they were free to do what they wished when off duty”. However, it has now confirmed police regularly visited while on uniform duties to “interact more” with the community.
A spokeswoman said there was no evidence of wrongdoing by any force employees past or present but added: “We are now carrying out further inquiries to obtain a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding the contact between West Yorkshire Police officers and Savile at the so called Friday Morning Breakfast Club.
“Local officers working in the community were invited by Savile to his home for a coffee.
“At that time the force was encouraging community officers to interact more with residents in their area. The officers usually visited on a Friday. It was usual for other friends of Savile to be present drinking coffee and chatting.”
Savile held court at his Friday Morning Breakfast Club – which saw friends gathering for coffee, cake and conversation – for 20 years.
Numbers fluctuated, but regulars included several serving or retired officers. Among them were now-retired Insp Mick Starkey and Sgt Matthew Appleyard, who currently works in neighbourhood policing in Wetherby.
In the authorised biography on Savile by Yorkshire Evening Post reporter Alison Bellamy, Howard Silverman, another regular guest, was quoted as saying: “I can’t really reveal what we spoke about at the FMC... but we certainly put the world to rights and had a blooming good laugh.”
There is no suggestion Friday Morning Club members knew of the abuse carried out by Savile.
The West Yorkshire Police enquiries are unrelated to Operation Yewtree – the investigation into Savile being led by the Metropolitan Police.
They are also separate from an investigation announced last week by watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission into an unnamed officer who allegedly acted on behalf of Savile during a Surrey Police investigation in 2009.
The police spokeswoman said the enquiries were to establish “the nature of the relationship” between officers and Savile. “If any issues come to light which warrant further scrutiny, we will investigate fully,” she added.