THE States of Jersey Police confirmed yesterday that former UK Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath was being considered as part of Operation Whistle, an investigation into historic sexual abuse on the island.
A force spokeswoman said: “Sir Edward Heath does feature as part of Operation Whistle, currently investigating historical allegations of abuse in Jersey.
“The SoJP continue to work in collaboration with their UK-based Operation Hydrant counterparts.”
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The force launched Operation Whistle in June as part of Operation Hydrant, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s co-ordination of child sexual abuse cases across the country.
SoJP said they had started the operation as a response to the “increase in the reporting of historic cases of abuse” since the death of Jimmy Savile.
The force said reported offences of CSA had “almost doubled” in the three years between 2011 and 2014.
This was, the force said, a result of survivors of abuse having “increased trust and confidence in reporting offending”.
The force said their investigation included 45 suspects (some of whom are dead or as yet unidentified), four institutions and 13 people of public prominence.
Although the names of the people of public prominence have never been released – SoJP have said only that they involve “politicians, people in the media, celebrities and generally people who are well-known” – they are thought to include Jimmy Savile.
At the centre of the Jersey investigation is the former Haut de la Garenne care home. In March 2008, Savile started legal proceedings against The Sun newspaper which had, wrongly he claimed, linked him in articles to the child abuse investigation at the home.
Police searched at Haute La Garenne in 2008
Savile’s denials that he had ever visited Haut de la Garenne, were quickly disproved when a photograph showing him there surrounded by children was made public.
The SoJP said an allegation of an indecent assault by Savile at the home in the 1970s had been investigated, but there had been insufficient evidence to proceed.
After his death, several other children from the home came forward.
A wide-ranging investigation into child abuse on the island heard repeated allegations of abuse at the care home that housed up to 60 children at any one time.
However, the investigation was marred by infighting and leaking of incorrect information to the press.