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Call for an independent Savile enquiry rejected by parliament

By Dr Phil Bevin

In a recent post, I examined the record keeping of the Crown Prosecution Service regarding the Savile case in the period 2009-2010 (

The original inquiry, which was commissioned by the CPS itself, highlighted gaps in the records. My further investigation led me to consider the possibility that the Savile case file may not have been dealt with in line with proper CPS policy. This raised the following questions:

  • If the decision not to prosecute Savile was believed to be proper correct, why does it appear that the file on him may have been deleted much earlier than it should have been, possibly against CPS retentions and disposals policy?
  • If the Savile file was destroyed against CPS policy, how would the deletion have occurred “automatically”?
  • If the file wasn’t deleted automatically, who made the decision to destroy it?
  • Who within the CPS – apparently incorrectly – informed Levitt that the deletion was in line with CPS data policy at the time?

But I wasn’t worried. Confident in the robust principles of accountability and transparency that underpin our democracy, I assumed that parliament would help me find the answer. Hopeful of provoking a strong parliamentary debate in which the truth of the matter would be scrutinised without fear, I submitted a draft petition requesting parliament discuss launching a new inquiry into the handling of the Savile case. The petition went as follows:

Tell us what you want us to do

Launch an independent inquiry into the decision not to prosecute Jimmy Savile.

Tell more about what you want us to do

Launch a new truly independent inquiry into the Crown Prosecution Service’s Decision not to prosecute Jimmy Savile, with terms of reference including the role of the DPP and the handling of case files and documents relevant to the decision.

Tell us more about why you want the Government or Parliament to do it

The original enquiry was conducted by the CPS itself, and left many questions unanswered, including whether the Director of Public Prosecutions was consulted on the decision not to prosecute Savile and whether the documents relating to the decision were handled and disposed of properly and according to CPS standard policy.

To my surprise, the petition was rejected.

Before submitting the text, I had read the guidance carefully, to ensure that it was within the rules of the petition service. These state that a petition can be rejected if:

  • It calls for the same action as a petition that’s already open
  • It doesn’t ask for a clear action from the UK Government or the House of Commons
  • It’s about something the UK Government or House of Commons is not directly responsible for.

The specific reason given for the rejection of my petition was this:

“It calls for an action relating to a particular individual, or organisation outside of the UK Government or Parliament”, which relates to the third criteria for rejection.

Now, to be clear, my petition requests that parliament debate a matter relating to the actions of a government department, the Crown Prosecution Service, not an individual, or organization outside of Government. It could perhaps be argued that the CPS is, as a non-ministerial Government department, at least semi-independent and is therefore not subject to parliamentary petitions.

So, I searched the petitions site to see if any petitions related to the CPS have been published. There is currently a petition on the site urging the Government to: “Make it mandatory for Police & CPS to provide counselling to ALL victims of CSA (Child Sexual Abuse)”.

My petition does make reference to the need to investigate the conduct an individual public servant within Government – in this case the Director of Public Prosecutions – so I also searched to see if my petition was unique in this regard. It is not. There is a petition listed calling for “Independent scrutiny of alleged breaches of the Ministerial Code by the PM” ( I do not see how this request is any different in kind to my petition urging the Government to consider launching an independent inquiry into the handling of the Savile case and the role of the DPP in relation to it.

This is very strange. Given the unaddressed questions regarding the handling of the Savile case and the difficulties in finding the answers, there is a real risk that people may start wildly speculating. If this should happen, I fear there is a possibility that a widespread – though unfounded, given the lack of available evidence one way or the other – perception that there may have been a “cover up” could take hold in the public imagination.

It is therefore both in the public interest and in the interests of the Government for there to be a further, properly independent, investigation into the handling of the Savile case, so that it can be confirmed that it was dealt with properly, and the case file handled in line with the CPS’s own guidance.

In this spirit of civic responsibility and in the expectation that the reputation of the venerable Crown Prosecution Service will be upheld by the outcome of any new inquiry, the Workers Party of Britain has kindly agreed to publish my petition. If you would like a new, fully independent inquiry into the Crown prosecution Service’s handling of the Savile case, please sign it here: