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
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Extras
indybest
News
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
education
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform