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'Jimmy Savile police' on Russell Brand case after serious sexual assault allegations
21 September 2023, 08:31 | Updated: 21 September 2023, 08:56
Police officers from a unit set up after the Jimmy Savile scandal have been assigned to help detectives with the Russell Brand case.
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The Met set up a taskforce in 2014 to look into non-recent sexual crimes by well-known people after claims emerged against Savile, one of Britain's most notorious paedophiles and formerly a beloved TV entertainer.
Police bosses confirmed that Operation Hydrant, which has found more than 9,000 sex offenders, are working on the Brand case after allegations of sexual assaults emerged over the weekend.
The entertainer, 48, was accused of four serious sexual assaults and emotional abuse between 2006 and 2013, when he was at the height of his fame and working for the BBC, Channel 4 and starring in Hollywood films.
Since then another woman has come forward with an accusation from 2003, and another with a claim from 2008. The Met has urged people to come forward with claims.
Brand has strongly denied the allegations, which also include claims of controlling, abusive and predatory behaviour.
A spokesman for Operation Hydrant told the Times: "We are working with the Metropolitan Police in support of their response to recent allegations and would urge any victim or survivor who feels ready to report any allegations of sexual assault to come forward and speak to officers."
The spokesman added that they could not comment on individual cases.
Operation Hydrant has identified more than 9,000 possible sex offenders in the nine years it was set up. Some 250 of these were people with a 'public prominence. Nearly 60 of these were from TV, film or radio.
Following the string of serious allegations made against Brand, the BBC has removed some of his work from iPlayer while YouTube - which usually earns him between £2,000 and £4,000 per video - axed his monetisation.
Channel 4 also removed all of his content.
Brand still has a presence on video platform Rumble, where his channel has 1.4 million followers and he hosts a weekly live show at 5pm BST, but there was no new episode on Monday.
His most recent video on Rumble is a short clip from Friday when he denied the allegations against him which were published the following day..
Brand's remaining live shows have also been cancelled. He has stepped down from two of his businesses, One Arm Bandit and Mayfair Film Partnership Ltd.
Jimmy Savile, one of the UK's most famous broadcasters, sexually abused hundreds of people - most of them children. His crimes only emerged after his death in 2012 and sparked a national reckoning about child abuse in previous decades.