Jimmy Savile was "a prolific, predatory sex offender" who could have been prosecuted for offences against at least three victims while he was alive, according to a joint report.

The disgraced TV presenter used his celebrity status to "hide in plain sight", with 214 criminal offences now recorded against him across 28 police forces, a report by Scotland Yard and the NSPCC found.

It also revealed that Savile abused his victims at 14 medical sites including hospitals, mental health units and even a hospice.

A total of 450 people have come forward alleging sexual abuse against Savile since October, and within the recorded crimes, there are 34 rapes and 126 indecent acts, the report said.

Of his victims, 73% were children, with the total victim age range between eight and 47 years old at the time of the offences.

The police report found that the earliest reported offence committed by Savile was in Manchester in 1955, and the final reported allegation was in 2009.

Alison Levitt QC, legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions, said Savile could have been prosecuted in 2009 had police taken victims more seriously.

DPP Keir Starmer said: "I would like to take the opportunity to apologise for the shortcomings in the part played by the CPS in these cases.

"If this report and my apology are to serve their full purpose, then this must be seen as a watershed moment."

Commander Peter Spindler, who is leading the national investigation into Savile's abuse, said: "Savile's offending footprint was vast, predatory and opportunistic.

"He cannot face justice today, but we hope this report gives some comfort to his hundreds of victims. They have been listened to and taken seriously."

Abuse at Stoke Mandeville Hospital took place between 1965 and 1988, while at Duncroft School, a children's home, the allegations cover a period between 1970 and 1978.

Mr Spindler said so far 617 people had made contact with officers investigating claims against Savile and other figures in the entertainment industry, with 450 directly relating to Savile.

The offences cover the period when Savile worked at the BBC between 1965 and 2006 and include allegations linked to the final recording of Top of the Pops.

They also involve the period when he worked at Leeds General Infirmary between 1965 and 1995.

BBC 'appalled'

The BBC said it was "appalled" that Savile preyed on victims on its premises and again apologised to those affected.

A BBC spokesman said: "The police report into Jimmy Savile contains shocking revelations. As we have made clear, the BBC is appalled that some of the offences were committed on its premises.

"We would like to restate our sincere apology to the victims of these crimes."

It was revealed that Savile allegedly sexually touched a girl aged 13 to 16 at the last Top Of The Pops recording in 2006.

He was also invited into schools when children wrote to him as part of the Jim'll Fix It series.

A total of 14 offences have been recorded that relate to schools, the report said.

The BBC has launched its own review of the culture and practices at the broadcaster during the years in which Savile worked there, between 1965 and 2006.

It also undertook a separate investigation, the Pollard Review led by former Sky News executive Nick Pollard, which examined a shelved Newsnight report into Savile's abuse.

Mr Pollard found that the decision to drop the story plunged the BBC into "chaos and confusion", revealing a corporation where "leadership and organisation seemed to be in short supply".

The corporation also faced criticism over a £450,000 pay-off given to former director-general George Entwistle, who resigned after just 54 days in the job as a result of his handling of the fall-out from the Savile crisis.

Closure of 'first chapter' of inquiries

A solicitor who represents some of Savile's victims has said that today's report marks the closure of just the first chapter of inquiries into widespread child sex abuse by the late BBC presenter.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Alisia Alinia said that following today's publication of the results of the police inquiry into the abuse, it now falls to the institutions in which this abuse occurred to carry out their own inquiries.

Ms Alinia questioned in particular why one of the schools, Duncroft Approved School for Girls, has so far failed to announce any inquiry into the alleged sex abuse.

The child abuse lawyer said that lessons had to be learned from the systematic failure that allowed child abuse to happen across all of the institutions involved.

She said: "Its very difficult at this stage to speculate about whether he could have been caught of not.

"The difficulty that we have is that it wasn't just one institution, it was a number of institutions while points to a systemic failure and what we see is that there is now an opportunity to look at those institutions and ensure that lessons are learned."

Ms Alinia said that while she already had a clear indication of the large scale of the abuse carried out by Savile, she continued to be shocked by the details that have emerged from the investigations into his conduct.

She said: "I think that we've had information that the scale was truly shocking and what we've seen through looking at these cases and speaking to the victims is certainly that, but I as much as anybody else am continually shocked about the reports that are out there.

"Today's figures that 73% of those victims were children under the age of 18 really gives a chilling account of what went on."