POLICE forces across the region are to review their information sharing processes in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Police and Crime Commissioners said they were studying the report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) which found the radio and TV star's 54-year reign of abuse could have been cut if police forces had "joined the dots".
Former North Yorkshire Police deputy chief constable Peter Walker supported a finding in the report that despite the introduction of the £75m Police National Database in 2011, police could still repeat the same errors thrown up by the Savile case.
“This sort of thing could happen even now," he said. "Information is not being put into the national database and it’s absolutely essential that police and crime commissioners get a grip on this in local forces.
“This should be an absolute warning for those responsible for the governance of policing to make sure the processes their forces are adopting for sharing information regionally and nationally are being used effectively.”
He also called for action to help victims of sex crimes when reporting offences to the police after it emerged many of Savile’s victims had felt isolated and felt a sense of shame.
The Chief Constable of Durham, Mike Barton, who speaks on intelligence for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said he was satisfied that forces had made significant progress since the police's failure to share information had been linked to the 2002 Soham murders.
He said: “I am confident now that, if there were allegations anywhere in the country and there were simultaneous allegations elsewhere, we could connect those dots.”
However, Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg said he would discuss a move to improve information sharing between the Durham, Cleveland and Northumbria forces with Mr Barton tomorrow (Wednesday, March 13).
After discussing closer co-operation between the force and Barnado’s child exploitation workers in the region yesterday, he said he would call for a information sharing review to ensure “we are not missing a trick”.
Mr Hogg said: “Having worked in children’s safeguarding in Sunderland I understand the issues and I think we could make improvements in Durham.”
Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, said the force had been one of the first forces to upload all its data onto the national database.
She said: “We are enhancing sharing information on a local level through the establishment of new systems and multi-agency teams who are focussed on safeguarding communities, and especially vulnerable individuals.”
Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said he would study the HMIC report closely and consider its recommendations and any further proposals from the College of Policing.