The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will look into accusations the ex-officer, known only as ‘Inspector 5’, contacted Surrey Police on behalf of Savile before he was due to be interviewed in 2009.
West Yorkshire Police, along with six other forces, has also been ordered to review all material relating to Savile to determine if the conduct of other officers should be looked at by the IPCC.
IPCC commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: “A number of bodies are already working to address the deep-rooted public concern in this case and have published reports.
“It is now for the IPCC to assess thoroughly whether or not there are matters in relation to the conduct of individual officers that require an IPCC investigation. This may be of little comfort to victims of crime but I hope that the IPCC can play some part in addressing what many see as a catalogue of institutional failings.”
The announcement follows a review by the IPCC of reports by Scotland Yard and the NSPCC, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Surrey Police as well as information given by forces in West Yorkshire and Sussex.
Last month a report on Operation Ornament – Surrey Police’s review of complaints about Savile – revealed that ‘Inspector 5’ contacted the force on Savile’s behalf in June 2009, five days after Savile had been told about allegations against him.
The officer said he knew Savile personally, and that he was subjected to “many of these complaints”.
Savile was interviewed in October over allegations he had carried out attacks at Duncroft children’s home in Staines and Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
The report revealed Savile boasted about his links to senior police officers in Leeds, saying that if he received letters accusing him of wrongdoing then they would “get rid” of them for him. A prosecution was never pursued because of the alleged victims’ unwillingness to proceed with their complaints, Surrey Police said.
The latest developments come after a CPS report found the chance to convict Savile for sex offences while he was alive was missed because victims were not taken seriously enough.
Alison Levitt QC, legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions (DPP), said that police and prosecutors treated their claims “with a degree of caution which was neither justified nor required”.
The IPCC’s investigation was welcomed by West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson.
He said: “It is vitally important that the people of West Yorkshire and elsewhere understand what happened and the role that the police played during the many years that Savile lived in West Yorkshire and committed such shocking crimes here and throughout the UK.”
Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Jawaid Akhtar added: “West Yorkshire Police very much welcomes the overview that the engagement of the Independent Police Complaints Commission will provide.
“The positive engagement between the force and the Police and Crime Commissioner with a desire by both to have a transparent understanding of what happened is important and we will co-operate fully with the IPCC.”