Hundreds of child sex investigations to be reopened as part of 'radical' plans to tackle sexual abuse in wake of Jimmy Savile scandal

Keir Starmer says overhaul of criminal justice system's efforts to tackle sex abuse will head off 'another Savile moment in five or 10 years' time'

Hundreds of dropped child sex investigations are likely to be reopened as part of radical overhaul of the way the criminal justice system tackles sexual abuse.

In a bid to head off “another Savile moment in five or 10 years' time”, the Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer set out plans for an overhaul of guidance, a programme of training, and proposals for a panel of officers and prosecutors to look at past decisions if requested.

Mr Starmer said: “We cannot afford another Savile moment in five or 10 years' time. Whatever approach is now agreed it has to be fully informed, coherent, consistently applied across the country and able to withstand the test of time.”

The late DJ Jimmy Savile was one of Britain's most prolific sexual predators but slipped under the radar and was allowed to abuse on a massive scale.

Mr Starmer said: “Police and prosecutors have significantly improved the way we investigate and prosecute sexual offences in recent years, particularly those involving children.

”The results have been encouraging with more cases being brought to court, higher conviction rates and more defendants pleading guilty. Yet, despite all this, events over the last 12 months raise fundamental questions about our approach to these cases.“

He added: ”We are clear that the yardsticks for testing the credibility and reliability of victims in sexual abuse cases do not serve the police or prosecutors well and risk leaving an identifiable group of vulnerable victims unprotected by the criminal law.“

In a speech this evening in London to an invited audience of representatives of charities, campaigners and Government officials, the DPP will set out the results of discussions undertaken with leading police officers, including Mr Whatton.

Mr Whatton said: ”By working shoulder to shoulder with the Crown Prosecution Service and the College of Policing, ACPO is keen to ensure that we continue to build on progress in the area of sex offence investigation.

“We have proposed a package of measures, including a rationalisation of guidance, training and consideration of a review panel mechanism to ensure we have truly learned from the lessons of the past.”

The CPS and ACPO have agreed:

* A clearing of the decks in relation to policy and guidance. All existing policy will be decommissioned, with one overarching and agreed approach to investigation and prosecution of sexual offences to be applicable in all police forces and agreed by the CPS. The CPS will also draft new guidance to ensure consistent best practice, which will be open to public consultation.

* Training will ensure there is no gap between policy and practice. The training will be hands on and provide practical advice to police and prosecutors about when a complainant can and should be told about other complaints, among other things.

* To propose the formation of a national “scoping panel”, which will review complaints made in the past which were not pursued by police and prosecutors, if requested.

Mr Starmer said: “There is an urgent need for an informed national debate about the proper approach to the investigation and prosecution of sexual offences.

”That debate needs to extend well beyond the CPS and the police. Above all, a national consensus needs to be reached on the issues.“

To this end, ACPO and the CPS will host a series of ”round tables“ with bodies and individuals with responsibility, interest or expertise in the field in order to explore and test the revised guidance on investigating and prosecuting sexual assault cases.

News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam