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THE number of alleged victims of Jimmy Savile soared to 300 today, with police probing the scandal calling it a "watershed" moment in child abuse investigations.
Commander Peter Spindler said officers are following more than 400 lines of inquiry linked to the victims, all of whom except two are women.
He said investigators have so far spoken to 130 people who have come forward, and 114 allegations of crime have emerged.
Mr Spindler also said today that Savile was “undoubtedly” one of the most prolific sex offenders of recent history.
He also revealed that a retired officer had been in touch to say he had investigated Savile in the 1980s while based in West London but he had not had the evidence to proceed.
He said he believed the allegation was of an indecent assault on BBC premises but officers have still not found the original file.
Mr Spindler said cops are using a “triage” approach, first making contact with victims by phone to get initial details of their allegations.
He told reporters that most of the allegations are linked to Savile, but some involve others who may have acted with him.
Nobody has yet been arrested or interviewed under caution, but the force is “preparing an arrest strategy”.
“Then there is a third category which is ’others’.”
Officers are trying to contact victims as quickly as possible, but for some it is the first time they have spoken about the allegations, Commander Spindler said.
He told journalists: “We are trying to make contact with as many victims as quickly as we can. We are doing it initially by telephone but some of those telephone contacts are taking up to four hours.
“This may be the first time that some people have actually spoken in any detail, and we don’t underestimate how significant an event it is for them to disclose sexual abuse.”
Praising victims for their courage in coming forward, he encouraged anyone else who is wondering whether to speak out to do so.
He said: “That’s the type of people who are the most vulnerable in our society, and they do need to be given a voice. I think what’s happened with this inquiry is that others have clearly demonstrated that they do have a voice and that they will be heard.”
He also warned current abuse offenders that police “will come for them”.
Mr Spindler said: “While Britain reflects on how Savile was able to hide in plain sight, I think it’s quite important that we focus on what’s happening today in our society and our activities in the coming weeks hopefully will 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.
"I really do want them to take heed, and tell them that we will come for them.”
So far, the NSPCC has had 439 calls about sexual abuse in the past three weeks, a 60 per cent rise on normal numbers.
Two out of five have been referred to social services and the police.
He said allegations reported today that doctors in hospitals had been involved in abuse “hadn’t come through to us at the moment”.
He said that the weight of evidence against the late DJ was overwhelming.
He said: “We have to believe what they are saying because they are all saying the same thing independently.”
He added that Savile had been protected because “children or young people” had not felt “empowered to speak out”.