The BBC has said it will hold an inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse against Sir Jimmy Savile.
The corporation's director-general said the probe would take place after the criminal investigation is complete.
Speaking on the Radio 4 Today programme, George Entwistle said he would like to "apologise on behalf of the organisation" in the wake of the allegations of sexual abuse against the former DJ and star of Jim'll Fix It.
He said the women involved had "gone through something awful", which he "deeply regrets".
Mr Entwistle spoke out a day after the Prime Minister called for allegations of sexual abuse against the late celebrity, who was employed by the BBC at the time, to be fully investigated.
David Cameron said the claims from a number of women which have emerged over recent weeks that they were abused by Savile as teenagers were "truly shocking".
Mr Entwistle, who took over as director-general at the BBC last month, said there needed to be a "comprehensive examination" of what went on, following the police investigation.
He said: "At the heart of what went on are a series of criminal allegations about the behaviour of Sir Jimmy Savile.
"Now, the way to deal with those is to make sure that the police, who are the only properly constituted authority for dealing with criminal investigations, are allowed to make the examinations and inquiries they need to make.
"So ... it is critically important that we start by putting the BBC at the disposal of the police in this regard."
Any BBC probe, he added, would examine the "broad question of what was going and whether anybody around Jimmy Savile knew what was going on".
Mr Entwistle refuted claims that Newsnight was forced to axe an investigation into the Saville abuse claims, due to be broadcast on the BBC programme before Christmas last year.
He said: "The BBC is designed in such a way that news and current affairs programmes are protected from the interests and influence of the rest of the organisation."
He added: "With the benefit of hindsight I think we could all wish that Newsnight had been able to go as far as ITV went."
Asked why the BBC ran a eulogy on Savile after evidence surfaced, he said: "I didn't know what had become of that investigation, I didn't know what discoveries, if any, that they had.
"A great many people in the country loved Jimmy Savile and wanted to contribute to that programme."
Meanwhile, police child abuse officers have met BBC officials to discuss allegations over Savile.
Scotland Yard said they were contacting all individuals who have made claims about the late presenter and should know how many victims there are some time this week.
A growing number of victims have come forward to allege that Savile sexually assaulted them after five women took part in an ITV documentary claiming that they had been abused.