A West Yorkshire Police investigation into its dealings with Jimmy Savile “does not have the look and feel of an independent report”, one of the country’s most senior officers has claimed.
Operation Newgreen, published in May after revelations of the disgraced DJ’s links with officers in the county, failed to give the impression of “independent assurance” and may have made the force appear defensive, according to Avon and Somerset chief constable Nick Gargan.
Mr Gargan was asked to investigate whether West Yorkshire’s assistant chief constable Ingrid Lee, who commissioned and oversaw the report, failed to declare her business relationship with serving and ex- colleagues. He said Mrs Lee was only guilty of a “minor technical breach” of force policy by not declaring her directorship of two firms, which were were “simply shares in holiday accommodation from which she derived no profit or income”, and that he had found nothing that would undermine her “integrity or reputation”.
The Newgreen report highlighted an “over-reliance on personal friendships” between Leeds-born Savile and some officers but concluded there was “no evidence” he was protected from arrest or prosecution.
Mr Gargan’s letter says: “It seems clear to me that Operation Newgreen does not have the look and feel of an independent report. As I turned from one page to the next, I saw example after example of the author putting the case for WYP.
“At times this case was put with some force and emotion and more than a hint of exasperation with other bodies. In that respect, Operation Newgreen was unsuccessful if it was its intention to give an impression of independent assurance: it may even have had the effect of strengthening suspicion that West Yorkshire Police was at the very least being defensive.”
West Yorkshire Police chief constable Mark Gilmore said he asked Mr Gargan to carry out the review “in order to maintain public confidence in West Yorkshire Police by ensuring independent scrutiny and total objectivity in this investigation”.
He added: “ACC Lee has my full, and unqualified, support and continues to serve as a valued member of my Chief Officer Team working with colleagues to keep our communities safe and feeling safer.
“I also welcome Chief Constable Gargan’s personal reflections on the Operation Newgreen report. This was an internal review initiated by West Yorkshire Police to understand the circumstances surrounding the allegations being made about Savile and his relationship with the force.
“This has given West Yorkshire Police another perspective to consider for the future as we continue to respond to the challenges posed by the abhorrent offending of Savile.
“We will continue to work with CC Gargan and other colleagues, in this regard, to ensure lessons are learnt and the communities of West Yorkshire get the policing service they deserve.”