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File photo of Jimmy Savile© PA File photo of Jimmy Savile

Police missed an opportunity to investigate paedophile DJ Jimmy Savile in 2008 after mishandling a woman’s sex assault complaint.

The findings follow an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into how Sussex Police dealt with a report against the disgraced star.

The inquiry examined the force’s response to an allegation made by a woman on 3 March, 2008, that Savile had sexually assaulted her in a caravan in Worthing in 1970.

The IPCC report found not all lines of enquiry were properly followed by detectives.

While there was no evidence officers deliberately dissuaded the woman from pursuing her allegation, she felt reluctant to do so following contact with police, the report said.

IPCC deputy chair Sarah Green said: “Greater efforts should have been made by police to investigate the allegation and to encourage the woman to support an investigation.

“She showed considerable courage in coming forward to police but regrettably she felt that the two officers who visited her had a negative attitude towards her pursuing her allegation.

“Not sending a trained female officer, coupled with the perceived absence of support, resulted in a missed opportunity by Sussex Police to investigate Savile in 2008.”

While the two male CID detectives, who visited the woman in March 2008, were both experienced, neither was a specially trained sex offence liaison officer.

Sussex Police policy at the time also highlighted that victims of sexual offences may have “severe reservations” about talking to an officer of a different gender.

However, it was unclear about the use of specially trained officers to investigate historical sexual offences.

Sussex Police has agreed with the IPCC that the officers’ failure to encourage the woman to take forward her sexual assault allegation, indicated potential performance issues rather than misconduct.

The force has also accepted there were potential performance issues for two detective inspectors who had supervisory roles.

The IPCC said Sussex Police had already taken steps to tackle the weaknesses identified and new guidance had been issued.

Savile died in October 2011 without answering for five decades of prolific offending.

The former Top of the Pops presenter is thought to have committed more than 200 offences across 28 police force areas, including 34 rapes.

Three-quarters of his victims were under 18, with 28 alleged victims under 10-years-old.

SOURCE

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