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Team set up after Savile case works with Met Police following Brand allegations

Police have urged people to report any allegations.

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Russell Brand

A team which was set up after Jimmy Savile’s abuse came to light is helping police looking into the rape and sexual assault allegations being made against Russell Brand.

Earlier this week, Scotland Yard said it had received a report of an alleged sexual assault in the wake of media allegations about the 48-year-old comedian and actor, which he strongly denies.

On Thursday, the Hydrant Programme – national experts on child sexual abuse inquiries – urged people to report any allegations to investigators.

In a statement, a spokesman for the programme said: “We are supporting the Metropolitan Police in 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.”

Russell Brand
Russell Brand strongly denies the allegations (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Formerly Operation Hydrant, the group – which helps with policy and strategy – was established in 2014 in the wake of the Savile sexual abuse scandal.

Savile, believed to be one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders, died aged 84 in October 2011 and an ITV documentary a year after his death revealed the story of his abuse.

The full extent of his crimes was revealed in Operation Yewtree’s report in 2013, which recorded 214 criminal offences committed by the radio DJ and Top Of The Pops presenter.

It is tasked with delivering the “national policing response, oversight, and co-ordination of non-recent child abuse investigations concerning persons of public prominence” and historical offences that took place in institutions.

Hydrant’s work was broadened last year to include the National Police Chiefs’ Council child protection and abuse investigation portfolio and is led by Deputy Chief Constable Ian Critchley.

Brand has been accused of rape, assault 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, following a joint investigation by The Times, The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches.

Following the allegations, which also include claims of controlling, abusive and predatory behaviour, BBC and Channel 4 have announced investigations into the presenter’s time at their channels.

Channel 4 also said it has removed all of the content featuring Brand while the BBC said it has reviewed content and “made a considered decision to remove some of it, having assessed that it now falls below public expectations”.

Views of London – The Channel 4 Television Headquarters
Channel 4 is investigating Brand’s time at the channel (John Walton/PA)

Both YouTube, which hosts his video channel, and podcasting platform Acast, where his Under The Skin podcast appears, have said he would not make money from advertisements on their sites and apps.

The remaining shows of Brand’s Bipolarisation tour have also been postponed, however, right-wing video platform Rumble has said the allegations against Brand have “nothing to do” with its platform.

The video hosting site also said that it stands for “different values” than YouTube and has “devoted ourselves to the vital cause of defending a free internet”.

“We don’t agree with the behaviour of many Rumble creators, but we refuse to penalise them for actions that have nothing to do with our platform,” the statement also read.

Brand’s last video to his platforms denied any criminal allegations and said he has been “promiscuous” but that all of his relationships have been “consensual”.

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