Savile failings ‘could be prevented’ - Fahy
8:55am Wednesday 13th March 2013 in Local
A NATIONAL police force could help to prevent the failings identified in the Jimmy Savile case from happening again, according to Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy.
His comments followed a damning report by the Inspectorate of Constabulary, which said forces did not understand the depth of the late DJ's sexual offending.
Police forces mishandled complaints and missed opportunities to apprehend Jimmy Savile, the report claimed.
The report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabularly (HMIC) — which was commissioned by the Home Secretary to find out how much police knew about Savile before he was exposed as a sex offender in 2012 — also warned that failures to share intelligence on a prolific offender could happen again.
Sir Peter, who heads up Greater Manchester Police, said individuals rather than the overall system were being blamed for failures and that the fundamental underlying issues were not being addressed.
The lack of a national police headquarters, he added, caused communication difficulties between forces.
And although he stressed a police national database, which had been operational since 2011, had enabled forces to share intelligence, he believes localism makes it more difficult to deal with cross-boundary cases.
A national police force is being created in Scotland but there are no plans for something similar in England and Wales.
Sir Peter said: “It has to be acknowledged that having 43 separate police forces in England and Wales and no national headquarters for policing makes achieving consistent national standards all the more difficult.”
The lack of national co-ordination, he said, led to tensions among forces, and that the lack of co-ordination across forces was only part of the problem.
Sir Peter said: “Victims of burglary are not blamed for leaving a door open but in sexual offences the behaviour of the victim is scrutinised. This pressure on the victim and the way any weakness are exploited means prosecutors and police officers are cautious in taking cases to court.” He also expressed concern that unconvicted people are removed from the DNA database because of concerns over civil liberties when their details could be useful in future investigations.
And while Sir Peter accepted there was little public support for a national police force he said localism “makes it more difficult when cases cross boundaries and when we are trying to achieve national standards”.