MET Police commend NSPCC for involvement in Operation Yewtree

NSPCC specialist advice and support throughout ensured we didn't let victims down, says MET Commander

This morning at New Scotland Yard, NSPCC staff were awarded commendations for their role in the Metropolitan Police's Operation Yewtree investigation into sexual abuse crimes committed by the late Jimmy Savile.

The investigation into sexual abuse alleagtions, predominantly the abuse of children, against media personality Jimmy Savile has also seen a number of high-profile defendants brought to court - such as Rolf Harris and Max Clifford.

'Very rare' commendations from the Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe were awarded to Peter Watt, Director of National Services and the helpline team, who provided vital support to detectives working on the high-profile case. Assistant Commissioner's Commendations were also presented to:

        • Ali Jeremy, Director of communications
        • Kam Thandi, Head of Helplines
        • Barry Gardner, Media Manager
        • John Cameron, Head of helpline Operations

The Commissioner said Yewtree had led to an 82 per cent rise in sexual crimes being reported in London, with a quarter of these being historical cases (at least 12 months old).

Commander Peter Spindler, who headed Operation Yewtree, which has led to the successful convictions of Rolf Harris, Max Clifford, Paul Gadd (Gary Glitter), Chris Denning and Dave Lee Travis, told the 90- strong audience at New Scotland Yard:
"The best decision we made was to invite the NSPCC to join us from the start. They provided a round-the-clock access point and gave specialist advice and support throughout to ensure we didn't let victims down."

Commander Spindler said the investigation – which is still ongoing – had resulted in nearly 3000 statements and interviews involving over 2000 victims and potential suspects: "The scale and impact has been unique," he said. "Operation Yewtree has embedded itself in the national psyche and has led to a change in the public perception regarding these crimes. The key to its success has been the multi-agency approach from the start."

Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO who accepted the commendation on behalf of helpline staff, said:
"Thanks to Yewtree more children who suffered harm or are at risk of abuse are being identified and protected. And we should say thank you to those with the courage to speak up about the abuse they experienced.

"It has been our privilege to capture their testimony and with your help Commissioner get at least some of them the justice they deserve."

During the first 18 months of Yewtree , NSPCC helpline counsellors took more than 500 calls which led to 800 children being protected from abuse. Since then contacts have soared by a third to more than 61,000 a year.

Operation Yewtree, since its launch in 2012, has resulted in the conviction of several high profile and households names. Prison terms handed down exceed 43 years:

    • Rolf Harris (5 years 9 months)
    • Max Clifford (8 years)
    • Paul Gadd (16 years)
    • Chris Denning (13 years)
    • Dave Lee Travis (3 months suspended).