WEST Yorkshire Police has launched an inquiry into social visits by on-duty officers to weekly tea parties held at Jimmy Savile’s penthouse flat.
The force is questioning members of the disgraced late entertainer’s inner circle over the so-called Friday Morning Club.
Although Savile was open about his friendships with officers, the force said in October last year it had no information on their participation in gatherings at Savile’s flat in Roundhay Park, Leeds. At the time, a spokesman said officers were “free to do what they wished when off duty”.
The force has now confirmed, however, that officers regularly attended when on duty after being encouraged to “interact more” with the community.
A spokeswoman said there was no evidence of wrongdoing but added: “We are now carrying out further inquiries to obtain a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding the contact between West Yorkshire Police officers and Savile at the so-called Friday Morning Breakfast Club.
“Local officers working in the community were invited by Savile to his home for a coffee. At that time the force was encouraging community officers to interact more with residents in their area. The officers usually visited on a Friday. It was usual for other friends of Savile to be present drinking coffee and chatting.”
Savile held court at his Friday Morning Breakfast Club – which saw friends gathering for coffee, cake and conversation – for about 20 years. Among them were now-retired inspector Mick Starkey and Sergeant Matthew Appleyard, who works in Wetherby. There is no suggestion those attending had any idea Savile was an abuser.
Last month a Metropolitan Police report said the former DJ and Jim’ll Fix It presenter, who died in 2011 aged 84, had abused hundreds of adults and children over 50 years.
The West Yorkshire Police inquiries into the Friday Morning Club are unrelated to Operation Yewtree investigation into Savile by the Metropolitan Police. They are also separate from an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission into an unnamed officer, who allegedly acted on behalf of Savile during a Surrey Police abuse probe in 2009.