Jimmy Savile sexual abuse claims: Police launch criminal inquiry

The Metropolitan Police say more than 400 lines of inquiry have been assessed with 200 potential victims identified - and the BBC is now free to begin its own probe

The Metropolitan Police has today launched a “formal criminal investigation” into allegations of sexual abuse made against the late television and radio presenter Jimmy Savile. 

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Operation Yewtree has been elevated from an “assessment” to a criminal investigation after Scotland Yard looked into over 400 lines of inquiry involving over 200 potential victims.

Allegations against the former Top of the Pops presenter first emerged in an ITV Exposure documentary broadcast at the beginning of October, and have since escalated in number.

Met Commander Peter Spindler said: “The public’s response to this issue has been astounding. We are dealing with alleged abuse on an unprecedented scale.

“The profile of this operation has empowered a staggering number of victims to come forward to report the sexual exploitation which occurred during their childhood.

“I am pleased that victims feel confident enough to speak out about the abuse they suffered and would like to reassure the public that we take all these cases very seriously and they will be investigated with the utmost sensitivity.

“Anyone with information or concerns should call NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.”

A Scotland Yard spokesperson went on to advise the BBC they could now begin their own investigation without jeopordising the integrity of the police probe.

“We acknowledge the appointment of Dame Janet Smith to lead the BBC commissioned review into this matter and recognise her need to progress this important work.

“We are now in a position to advise the BBC that they can ask the chair of the BBC Executive Board Dame Fiona Reynolds to begin the review to run parallel to our investigation. We will develop a protocol to ensure any future potential criminal action is not jeopardised.”

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Jimmy Savile died last year aged 84.