Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary said police received allegations seven times during Savile's lifetime that he had engaged in sex with children, The Daily Telegraph reported. The report was done at the request of Home Secretary Teresa May.
None of those complaints was pursued, the report said. Since Savile's death in 2011, almost 500 people have said he targeted them, and police have found evidence of 214 cases that could have involved criminal charges.
During his lifetime, Savile was a much admired radio and television personality, whose friends included Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. There were rumors of pedophilia, and the new report suggests police had something more than rumors.
In 1963, a male victim who complained to Cheshire police of a rape was told to "move on," the report said. The next year, London's Metropolitan Police did not follow up on a tip that Savile was molesting girls at a children's home in Surrey.
In 1998, 35 years later, the Metropolitan Police failed to investigate an anonymous letter that said Savile was being blackmailed because of his use of teenage male prostitutes. The letter was classified as "sensitive" and was not seen by officers investigating complaints made in the next few years.
The same thing happened in 2003 when a woman said she had been molested as a 15-year-old in the late 1960s.
"The findings in this report are of deep concern, and clearly there were mistakes in how the police handled the allegations made against Savile during his lifetime," Drusilla Sharpling, the inspector of constabulary, said. "However, an equally profound problem is that victims felt unable to come forward and report crimes of sexual abuse."