300 alleged Jimmy Savile victims have contacted police since ITV documentary

Head of Scotland Yard inquiry says case is 'watershed moment for child abuse inquiries'

Three hundred people have come forward to the police alleging that they were abused by Jimmy Savile – all but two of them women – since the first allegations were aired three weeks ago.

Commander Peter Spindler, who is leading the Scotland Yard inquiry, said coverage of the affair had "lanced the boil" and that the case was proving to be "watershed moment for child abuse investigations".

It has emerged that police officers from at least four forces were aware of allegations against Savile – which included attacks on girls at an approved school in Surrey and at Stoke Mandeville hospital – but they did not lead to any prosecution. Sussex Police has confirmed that it dropped an inquiry in 2008 into allegations against Savile after his accuser declined to take the case further. Savile's name also emerged during an inquiry into the abuse scandal at the Haut de la Garenne children's home in Jersey from the 1970s but he was never questioned.

It was not clear if Savile was ever interviewed over an allegation investigated by Scotland Yard in the 1980s about an incident in a caravan, revealed by a retired police officer yesterday. Commander Spindler said that officers were trying to find the file on the case.

News of that investigation came after another woman told a BBC radio programme that she had been raped in the caravan in 1970. She said that she reported the attack, when she was aged 22, to police and the BBC this month.

Rob Wilson, the Conservative MP, said: "It appears that these events were taking place on BBC premises by someone employed by the BBC but, despite the rumours, nobody there felt it necessary to take these matters to the police. It now appears even when it was reported by some of those people affected they weren't taken as far as a prosecution. We need to know why that happened."

Police are preparing to carry out the first arrests of people named in the inquiry. So far police have spoken with fewer than half of the victims and recorded 114 allegations, most of them linked to Savile, but including others who might have acted with him.

"We have to believe what they are saying because they are all saying the same thing independently," said Commander Spindler. "There's Savile on his own, and that's the vast majority of what we're being told about; there's Savile and others. And it's the others, if they're living, we can look at."

Commander Spindler said there was no evidence of a paedophile ring. But he said that one of Savile's former properties in Scotland had been searched to discover any evidence that might link other people to attacks there.

Commander Spindler said he hoped the case would prove to be a "stark warning to any men out there today who think they can exploit their positions of power and influence and abuse children and young people in Britain."

Asked if the Corporation had been aware of the police investigation in the 1980s, a BBC spokesman said in a statement: "These allegations are being dealt with by the police."

Suggested Topics
Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
Review: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
football Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Arts & Entertainment
Charlotte Brontë, the English novelist, poet and the eldest of the three Bronte sisters who lived into adulthood, has been celebrated with a Google Doodle depicting her most famous novel, Jane Eyre.
arts + ents "Reader, they doodled her".

Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Sport
Manchester United manager David Moyes looks on during his side's defeat to Everton
footballBaines and Mirallas score against United as Everton keep alive hopes of a top-four finish
Sport
Tour de France 2014Sir Rodney Walker on organising the UK stages of this year’s race
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Brown Findlay as Mary Yellan in ‘Jamaica Inn’
TVJessica Brown Findlay on playing the spirited heroine of Jamaica Inn
News
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents
Arts & Entertainment
‘Self-Portrait Worshipping Christ’ (c943-57) by St Dunstan
books How British artists perfected the art of the self-portrait
News
People
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLE
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

Day In a Page

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players