Operation Yewtree and the Cross Report.
- Crime and Parliamentary affairs correspondent TIM HICKS reports on the Cross Report – North Yorkshire Police’s response to our criticism over its investigation into its failure to detect Jimmy Savile and Peter Jaconelli for fifty years.
- He also reveals exclusively that despite being under investigation for paedophile offences in Surrey and Sussex, North Yorkshire Police nevertheless provided Savile with a police car and driver to take him to a community event for young people it had organised and Savile shared the platform with the Chief Constable.
Operation Yewtree, the Cross Report and the need for one single Savile investigation.
Recently, victims of Jimmy Savile have been asking for there to be one single investigation into Jimmy Savile, headed by a High Court Judge
According to Solicitor Alan Collins, speaking to the BBC:
“It should be one inquiry, chaired by a high court judge. I fear if this does not happen, an opportunity will have been lost, not only for the victims but for the country as a whole. “The risk (of not having one inquiry) is justice may be incomplete.”
My best estimate is that there are approximately forty separate largely uncoordinated investigations into Savile and his associates as follows:
- Thames Valley Police
- Greater Manchester Police
- Cheshire Police
- Lancashire Police.
- West Yorkshire Police.
- Surrey Police.
- Sussex Police.
- Metropolitan Police.
- The BBC.
- The Crown Prosecution Service.
- HM Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC).
- The IPCC.
- Thirty NHS Hospitals (Including the Whitby Memorial Hospital and Rampton High Security Psychiatric Hospital).
- North Yorkshire Police.
The Scarborough and Whitby aspect
The investigation by North Yorkshire Police, the IPCC, HMIC and the NHS investigations into Whitby Memorial Hospital and Rampton High Secure Psychiatric Hospital all concern the Scarborough and Whitby areas. Real Whitby has been asked to give evidence to the NHS enquiry and to the HMIC investigation.
In summary, the concerns over the Savile Case in Scarborough and Whitby relevant to these enquiries raised in the national and local press, and by Real Whitby are:
1. That Savile imported patients from Rampton Secure Psychiatric Hospital to Scarborough to meet with Peter Jaconelli at his ice-cream parlours and they may have been abused by them there.
2. Officers from North Yorkshire Police may have been members of Savile’s Friday Morning Club, which met at his flat in Leeds. This has been denied by North Yorkshire Police and we have separately published the response of North Yorkshire Police to this concern, which was as follows: “The available information indicates that no members of North Yorkshire Police socialised regularly with Mr Savile. Accordingly, the formal response I must give to your request is that there is no information held.”
3. That Savile operated in Scarborough and Whitby in a paedophile Ring with Peter Jaconelli, who was well known locally to be a paedophile, but was left alone by the police because of his influence as a senior Conservative politician, Mayor and influential local businessman. Consequently, North Yorkshire Police failed to arrest Jaconelli, (Britain’s most successful paedophile who operated untroubled by the police for all of his adult life) which would surely have led them to Savile, (Britain’s most prolific paedophile and rapist).
4. That when asked for intelligence on Savile by Surrey Police in 2007, North Yorkshire Police Force Intelligence Bureau replied that it had none, although according to national newspaper reports, Savile, Jaconelli and Corrigan had in fact featured in a 2003 paedophile investigation conducted by North Yorkshire Police. As a result, Surrey Police did not have the intelligence from North Yorkshire it needed to assist in its investigation and the best opportunity of bringing him to justice was lost.
In response, North Yorkshire Police has threatened to arrest a journalist from Real Whitby if we continue to cover stories on North Yorkshire Police – including of course its failure to arrest Peter Jaconelli and Jimmy Savile. It has also submitted a report to the IPCC in which it asserts there are no conduct matters that should be referred to the IPCC
The North Yorkshire Police report to the IPCC
North Yorkshire Police have kindly provided Real Whitby with a copy of this report, which is available through the North Yorkshire Police Website and can be accessed here.
The author is Assistant Chief Constable Sue Cross, a highly experienced officer with extensive CID experience who retired recently after a distinguished career with North Yorkshire Police.
Some observations on the Cross Report
I would make the following comments on the report:
The initial response by North Yorkshire Police and the HMIC investigation
- The report does not mention that the initial response of North Yorkshire Police was to deny all knowledge. A force spokesman commented in 2012: “When the allegations surrounding Jimmy Savile were publicised, we carried out extensive searches of force records which did not reveal a local connection”. As a result of this misleading statement (which has now disappeared from the force website) North Yorkshire Police were omitted from the initial direction by the IPCC to forces involved in the Savile investigation to consider if there were conduct issues which should be referred to the IPCC over way the Savile investigation was handled. As a result of information received from Real Whitby North Yorkshire Police was retrospectively directed by the IPCC to consider if there were any conduct matters that should be referred to it on the 15th of May 2013.
- The Home Secretary directed HMIC to establish which police forces received reports and/or allegations in respect of Savile and related individuals prior to the launch of Operation Yewtree (5 October 2012); and, with regard to those forces, the extent to which those allegations were robustly investigated and if there were any police failings in so doing. Because North Yorkshire Police initially denied any local connection with Savile and related individuals (Jaconelli), it was excluded from the HMIC investigation, which was completed in March 2013.
- Although contemporary press reports and by the management of Rampton High Secure Psychiatric Hospital have confirmed that patients visited Scarborough on two occasons and met Jaconelli, Corrigan and Savile, there is no mention of the Rampton visit first revealed by the Sunday People in 1972, or of any investigation into it.
Inappropriate contacts with Savile by officers of North Yorkshire Police and participation in Savile’s Friday Morning Club (FMC)
- The report denies any inappropriate contacts with Savile by North Yorkshire Police officers, or that any North Yorkshire Police officer participated in the Friday Morning Club, which met at Savile’s flat in Leeds. This goes beyond the original comment we received from North Yorkshire Police following a Freedom of Information Act request that “The available information indicates that no members of North Yorkshire Police socialised regularly with Mr Savile. Accordingly, the formal response I must give to your request is that there is no information held.” The report states that North Yorkshire Police confirmed that there were only eight members of the FMC, all of whom have been identified and interviewed and none of them were from North Yorkshire Police. It then goes on to state that North Yorkshire Police sent a police driver and vehicle to Savile’s Flat in Leeds in 2008. This may be the basis of the allegation that there was a ninth man from North Yorkshire Police in Savile’s circle. (The reference to the alleged ninth member of his Friday Morning Club in Real Whitby referred to in the report comes from the upsd website).
- The report confirms inappropriate contact by Officers and Police staff of North Yorkshire Police who were based at Selby Police Station with Savile in 2008. This occurred when a police driver visited Savile’s Flat in Leeds in a police vehicle, which was used as a taxi to transport him to Selby in North Yorkshire for a public event organized by officers and police staff from Selby Police Station. The Report does not state the contacts of the individual officers with Savile, how these arrangements were made, who the driver was, who authorised the use of the vehicle, if the police car was a marked car or if the driver in uniform. This In my view this was an inappropriate use of a police officer and vehicle. Given the fact that North Yorkshire Police had received intelligence that Savile was investigation at that time for multiple paedophile offences by two other forces it also constitutes an inappropriate contact. It also shows that the initial response of North Yorkshire Police denying any knowledge of any local connection with Savile was misleading.
- The (then) Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police Grahame Maxwell was one of the judges at the event and this is also withheld from the report. It was completely inappropriate for the Chief Constable to share a platform with Jimmy Savile at a social event for young people, while he was known to be under investigation for multiple paedophile offences by two other forces.
- Savile apparently was able to make his own way back to Leeds without difficulty after the event, which begs the question why was he provided with his own personal police car to get from Leeds to Selby in the first place.
- It now transpires that contrary to the above Freedom of Information Act response, “there is no information held” information was available which confirms that officers of North Yorkshire Police had contact with Savile on at least two occasions and probably misused a police car and driver. The report constantly uses the caveat “the available information indicates that”, which indicates it is possible there were other contacts with Savile which are not yet known, including possibly other contacts at his flat in Leeds.
- The report also confirms that Police officers from Selby Police Station met Savile at another public event in South Milford in 2008.
- No mention is made of social or duty contacts between police officers, Corrigan and Jaconelli.
The failure to arrest Peter Jaconelli, which could have led North Yorkshire Police directly to Jimmy Savile.
- The report states: “Checks of North Yorkshire Police databases (live and historic) do not show Savile as a Nominal in his own right or nor an associate of anyone else and there is no intelligence held regarding the alleged association of [Name Redacted but thought to be Peter Jaconelli] and Savile prior to the media coverage associated with Operation Yewtree”. North Yorkshire Police simply claims it was unaware that Savile was an associate of Peter Jaconelli, (although this was reported in the national press, the television and well known locally) and therefore ignores this issue alltogether.
- According to the witness evidence we have collected, Peter Jaconelli was abusing children from 1947 until his death in 1999. He seems -like his associate Savile- to have been an obsessive and addicted abuser, who used his access to children at his ice cream parlours, restaurants, local schools and his judo club to the full. Assuming that he abused one child a week, his victims could run into thousands over a fifty two year reign of abuse. Because he was an associate of Savile, Jaconelli he therefore fell within the second tier of Operation Yewtree which investigates Savile associates and should therefore feature heavily in the report. Yet his status as a Tier 2 suspect for Operation Yewtree and the failure of North Yorkshire Police to arrest him or develop any intelligence on him at all, is not addressed anywhere in the report.
The 2003 Paedophile investigation and the failure to pass on intelligence to the Surrey and Sussex Police investigations into Savile
- The report claims that Savile was not held as a “nominal” (ie someone that had been notified as a person of interest to another force in police intelligence as a result of an all forces INI check), although this is flatly contradicted by HMIC, Surrey and Sussex police, which all confirm that he was, on at least three occasionsAccording to Surrey Police : “At the start of the enquiry [into Savile] in 2007, Surrey Police conducted a check via INI (Impact Nominal Index) – a system designed to share intelligence between forces. A request was sent to every police force in the country to check their records for information relating to Savile. This returned no trace of similar allegations. Sussex Police then received an allegation in 2008 and, as a result of them conducting an INI check, they liaised with Surrey Police. The Jimmy Savile Stoke Mandeville Hospital Trust were also aware of the details of our investigation and subsequent interview with Savile in 2009.” According to the Full Surrey Police Operation Ornament Report (Paragraph 7.15) the initial INI was sent to North Yorkshire Police on the 20th of July 2007 and responses were received on the 22nd of July. According to the HMIC Report Sussex Police also conducted an INI check (Paragraphs 2.13 and 7.4.). It also subsequently filed a crime report on Savile which was made available to other forces via INI in April 2008 (Paragraph 7.7).
- The report is concerned throughout with rebutting comments by Real Whitby, but does not state that these allegations have been made by witnesses and other national and local media organisations, and are supported by evidence of HMIC, Surrey and Sussex Police. Reports linking Savile, Jaconelli and Corrigan were made by the Scarborough News, Sunday People and the Daily Express Article here and here, before Real Whitby started to investigate.
- The Daily Express and Scarborough News linked Savile, Jaconelli and Corrigan because: “Two other women contacted Scarborough’s local paper last week saying officers interviewed them in 2003 while investigating a paedophile ring which focused on young girls on the seafront. They were not abused but both said Savile’s name was mentioned to them by the Officers. One said police also mentioned two other businessman, former Scarborough mayor Peter Jaconelli and arcade boss Jimmy Corrigan, both now dead.” This is completely omitted from the report.
- The report was written nine working-days after receipt of the request from the IPCC. This did not give enough time in the context of a historical enquiry going back to the late 1940’s to develop historical witness evidence. ACC Cross did not appeal for witnesses during her investigation and none are referred to in her report. In contrast, by adopting a longer term approach, Real Whitby has tracked down ten witnesses that allege that Peter Jaconelli was a paedophile and abused them. Their evidence is specified in the article here.
- ACC Cross has not interviewed most of the witnesses developed by Real Whitby, or referred to their evidence in the report. Although some of them were not known at the time ACC Cross wrote her report, they should still have been interviewed retrospectively.
- ACC Cross has apparently not made any attempt to interview or trace the two witnesses referred to above that came forward to the Scarborough News as part of her investigation.
- The report does not deny the claims of the above two witnesses that they were interviewed by North Yorkshire Police and questioned about Savile, Jaconelli and Corrigan.
- It appears that ACC Cross has not questioned the officers who allegedly conducted these interviews, or examined their Police Notebooks or recordings of interviews to identify what was said in these alleged interviews.
- It should be noted that Sussex Police did maintain INI information. Consequently, when its investigation started in 2008 its officers knew to immediately contact Surrey Police, a classic example of good intelligence sharing and cooperation that the North Yorkshire Force Intelligence Bureau was unable to match. In short, it appears that North Yorkshire Police lost intelligence from other forces on at least three occasions. This is not addressed in the report.
- The Director of North Yorkshire Police Force Intelligence in May 2013 must have been aware from press comment in Real Whitby and elsewhere that INI information had been sent to North Yorkshire Police but apparently mislaid. Yet this omission is not explained.
- I have no doubt the intelligence analysts in the Force Intelligence Bureau would have two remembered INI enquiries for as prominent a person as Jimmy Savile, yet they apparently said nothing. This omission is also not explained.
- ACC Cross did not interview Real Whitby journalists or other journalists from other national and local newspapers that have covered this case, to ascertain what evidence we have to support the allegations she was investigating. Contrast this with the approach of the Metropolitan Police, which ensured that two detectives meticulously interviewed journalists at Scotland Yard and Whitby to obtain evidence from them.
- The report states: The “Real Whitby” blog site article effectively alleges that North Yorkshire Police interviewed witnesses regarding Savile because, according to the article Savile featured in the investigation conducted in 2003 with regard to a paedophile ring in which the author of the Real Whitby blog site names two offenders as [Name Redacted]. The available information indicates that the material investigation was conducted using the HOLMES (Home Office Large Major Enquiry System) facility and that Savile is not recorded in the HOLMES system in any form.” This confirms that North Yorkshire Police conducted a major investigation into historical abuse in Scarborough going back to the 1980’s in 2003 as the Daily Express alleged. This investigation was so big that it had to be handled through HOLMES. Yet North Yorkshire Police claim that, this investigation failed to discover any evidence of Jaconelli and Savile’s offending, claims it did not know of their association and there was nothing in police intelligence about them. The reasons for this are not addressed in the report, which gives no explanation for this failure to detect the two longest running and most successful paedophiles in British criminal history. Further, North Yorkshire Police had in fact received three pieces of intelligence on Savile that he was the subject of a major paedophile investigation from Surrey and Sussex Police in 2007 and 2008.
On the basis of this blatantly superficial and inadequate investigation by ACC Cross Mr Moir Stewart, the IPCC Director of Investigations has now exonerated North Yorkshire Police of any blame for its failure to detect Savile (Operation Yewtree Tier 1), Jaconelli or Corrigan (Operation Yewtree Tier 2): “I am now able to let you know we have completed that review of all the evidence and material relating to the late Jimmy Savile and have decided to take no further action with regard to your force.”
I subsequently wrote to Mr Stewart (who is a retired police officer) pointing out that all of the evidence and material had not been considered and that therefore the basis of his decision not to take any further action in respect of North Yorkshire Police was consequently unsound. On this basis I asked him to re-open the investigation into North Yorkshire Police on the basis of (1) fresh evidence provided by Real Whitby and (2) failure of process in the North Yorkshire Police investigation by ACC Cross. An IPCC spokesman has recently confirmed:
‘We have now advised other police forces, from which we received Savile-related information, that we do not intend to take further steps in regard to any of their officers at this time. These forces are: Thames Valley, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, North Yorkshire and Lancashire. After careful assessment of all the information so far available we have determined there is insufficient evidence of any recordable conduct matters specific to individual police officers which would merit a referral to the IPCC. The forces have provided rationale to the IPCC, as requested, for their decision-making in not recording or referring any conduct matters. We have received your further correspondence and are presently considering it.’
I also wrote to Chief Constable Jones asking that he order the investigation be reopened for the same reasons and I have received no response.
The unanswered questions
In summary therefore, the position of North Yorkshire Police appears to be that it knew and knows nothing about Jaconelli, although every schoolboy and parent in Scarborough knew about Savile’s associate Peter Jaconelli and many witnesses have come forward to confirm that the allegations about him were accurate and widely known. Further, it appears that North Yorkshire Police provided a police vehicle and driver to transport Savile (who was at that time known to be under investigation for multiple paedophile offences by two forces) to a social event for young children and its Force Intelligence Bureau apparently lost police intelligence on Savile on at least three occasions at a critical time in the investigation.
North Yorkshire Police has nevertheless exonerated itself, asserts it is blameless for its failure to detect Jaconelli, Corrigan and Savile. According to North Yorkshire Police it is entirely above any criticism and there are no grounds to refer any officer of North Yorkshire Police to the IPCC for disciplinary action.
The two critical failures of the British Police Service to arrest Savile both occurred in North Yorkshire. They are:
1. The failure of North Yorkshire Police to arrest Jaconelli, (Britain’s most successful paedophile who operated untroubled by the police for all of his adult life) which would surely have led them to Savile, (Britain’s most prolific paedophile and rapist).
2. When asked for intelligence on Savile by Surrey Police in 2007 North Yorkshire Police Force Intelligence Bureau replied that it had none, although according to newspaper reports, Savile, Jaconelli and Corrigan had in fact featured in a 2003 paedophile investigation conducted by North Yorkshire Police. As a result, Surrey and Sussex Police did not have the intelligence from North Yorkshire it needed to assist in its investigation and the best opportunity of bringing him to justice was lost.
However, as a result of the Cross Report, both the above key questions – arguably the two most important questions in the entire Savile investigation – remain completely unanswered and conveniently (for North Yorkshire Police) ignored and the ability of Savile and Jaconelli to offend in Scarborough and Whitby for fifty years untroubled by the local police remains completely unexplained and ignored, by North Yorkshire Police, the IPCC, HMIC and Operation Yewtree. Until they are answered, North Yorkshire Police, the IPCC, HMIC and Operation Yewtree investigations have no credibility.
The need for one impartial investigation
Savile lived in Leeds and regularly entertained police officers while they were in uniform and on duty, using police vehicles at his flat as part of his “Friday Morning Club”. The West Yorkshire Police investigation named Operation Newgreen largely exonerated itself from any criticism and has been severely criticised as a whitewash. Subsequently a retired Leeds policeman has claimed that “there wasn’t a copper in the city who didn’t know Savile was a pervert”. Full story here.
Returning to the need for one investigation led impartially by a High Court Judge this article started with. Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done and this means in practice that serving and retired police officers should not investigate the police. The spectre of police officers from successive police forces individually exonerating their force from any responsibility for the catastrophic national failure of the British Police Service to detect Jimmy Savile and Peter Jaconelli undermines this principal, the credibility of Operation Yewtree and of the British Police Service.
There must be full and open disclosure of what went wrong – no matter how painful it is – if we are to learn the lessons of the Savile affair and prevent it from happening again. That will not happen with the current arrangements.
The lessons will only be learned and the police response to major paedophile investigation will only improve, if there is one inquiry led by a High Court Judge that can examine all of the evidence from all the investigations, come to an overall view and make recommendations. It is only by coordinating and examining the reports of four police forces and HMIC, that I have been able to identify serious failings in the North Yorkshire Police handling of the Savile investigation.
To quote one 64-year-old victim speaking to the BBC: “Surely it would be best… if there was just one inquiry led by someone competent and, when all the evidence was gathered from up and down the country, they collated it and then we might know exactly why Jimmy Savile got away with serious sexual abuse for nearly 50 years.”
Real Whitby will cooperate with any subsequent re-investigation into Savile and will report the response of the IPCC to the fresh evidence we have uncovered in due course.