The truth is that the BBC fostered a monster, that much of the media indulged him for many years and that the police, insufficiently curious and doubtless awed by his celebrity, failed to follow up proper lines of inquiry – Stephen Glover
Despite the recent report Giving Victims a Voice that found Jimmy Saville a ‘predatory, serial sex offender’, British society likely will never fully navigate its way to the depth of the BBC’s personality’s harmful activities. It will scrape the surface, burrow down a bit, bring this or that to light, paper over gaps rather than fill them in only to conclude, if it wants to face up to it, that much less will be ultimately uncovered than actually happened.
Approximately 600 people came forward with information for the investigation of which 450 relate to Savile and most were reports of sexual abuse. There have been 214 formal crime recorded: 126 recorded indecent acts and 34 cases of rape or penetration offences; 73% of Savile's victims were under the age of 18 although victims ranged in age from eight -47. These are the facts as far as we know.
As Louise Pennington observes ‘we will never know exactly how many people were sexually assaulted by Savile. It is safe to say this is only the part of the picture.’
The opportunity to grasp the picture in much greater detail was missed while Savile was still alive. Now that he is dead, the sense of atonement referred to by Stephen Glover for having indulged ‘the ghastly man when he was alive’ seems to give off more heat than light.
Nowhere does this appear more pronounced than in the ranks of the British police.
One journalist questioned him about them in an interview as long ago as 1990, as did another journalist, Louis Theroux, in a TV programme broadcast in 2000. A woman made an allegation of assault in the Eighties (the report admits the police file has been unaccountably mislaid) and there were three separate police investigations from 2007 to 2009 ... If only the police had displayed a fraction of the zeal when Savile was alive that they show now he is dead ... a really thorough investigation of the DJ before he died would surely have resulted in a criminal prosecution.
But it didn’t happen and matters are where they are today as a result. Contrast the behaviour of the British police in relation to Savile with the zeal it cooked up in pursuit of those who committed no offence in Guildford and Woolwich, Birmingham or the M62. It is a moot point just how accurate the comment is by Metropolitan Police commander Peter Spindler that Savile had "groomed the nation". He most certainly groomed the police into doing next to nothing, even boasting that 'he had friends in the police who helped settle allegations against him.'
It is not that Savile’s activities somehow slipped though police fingers. Natasha Walter in her breakdown of statistics compiled by the Home Office, the Ministry of Justice and the Office for National Statistics argued that:
They suggest that one in five women in the UK experiences a sexual offence in her adult life and that there are 473,000 victims of sexual offences every year, including 60,000 to 95,000 rapes. Yet all of these rapes lead to just 1,070 convictions ... This is around 70,000 people being raped and nearly 500,000 experiencing sexual offences every year, right here, right now. Yet according to this report, only 15% of sexual offences were even reported to the police, let alone pursued through the criminal justice process.
Rape culture, the existence of which is strongly posited by Walter, is not something that burgeons in far off countries like India. And the British police would seemingly acquiesce in it.
Savile hid out in the open in a society whose police force gazed on him with eyes wide shut.