‘We cannot afford another Savile’: New moves to tackle child sex abuse

Sprawling guidelines on prosecuting suspected paedophiles are to be revised with a single policy to prevent another Jimmy Savile scandal, the director of public prosecutions is set to announce.

Keir Starmer will use a speech in London to unveil the new single, unified policy, which will outline how police officers and prosecutors will deal with future allegations of child sex abuse.

"Events over the last 12 months raise fundamental questions about our approach to these cases," Starmer told Sky News before his speech.

"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.

"We cannot afford another Savile moment in five or ten 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 Crown Prosecution Service will implement a series of measures effective across England and Wales, including the establishment of a 'scoping panel' which will review cases which are dropped before prosecution.

At the heart of the changes is a shift from assessing whether the complainant is telling the truth to assessing the suspect.

"Many of the victims are vulnerable precisely because they are not only young, but they often display some or all of the following characteristics: they are unable easily to trust those in authority and still less able to report intimate details; they use alcohol; they return to the perpetrator of the offences against them; and, not infrequently, they self-harm," Starmer is expected to say later.

"If the criteria for testing their credibility match the characteristics that make them vulnerable in the first place, we have a fundamental flaw in the approach to credibility."

It follows the shocking revelations of the Savile scandal. The late DJ and presenter committed at least 214 "predatory and opportunistic" sexual offences between 1955 and 2009, the Metropolitan police confirmed in January.

Savile faced four allegations before he died in 2009 but the CPS failed to bring him to justice.