The 68 year-old was held by detectives from Operation Yewtree, Scotland Yard’s inquiry into alleged child sexual exploitation by the late Jimmy Savile and others.
The former 70s pop star was arrested at 7.15am today in London on suspicion of “sexual offences” and taken to a station in the capital. He was seen leaving his home dressed in a hat, dark coat, black gloves and scarf.
Today’s dramatic arrest is the first by officers from the newly formed task force.
The Metropolitan Police declined to say what led to his arrest, which comes after claims Glitter raped a girl in Savile’s dressing room in front of the television presenter.
The Yard has launched a criminal investigation into allegations that Savile was part of a sex ring, with other members who remain alive.
Earlier this month it was alleged that Glitter raped a girl of 13 in his dressing room at BBC’s television centre.
The attack, in the 1970s allegedly took place as Sir Jimmy was groping a 14-year-old in the same room at the corporation.
A third star – a household-name entertainer who still performs – was also abusing a schoolgirl, according to the claims.
The allegations were made by Karin Ward, a former pupil of the Surrey school where Sir Jimmy is accused of preying on under-age girls.
She waived her anonymity to tell an ITV documentary screened last night how the Jim’ll Fix It star was working with Glitter, a convicted paedophile.
Glitter, real name Paul Gadd, was said to have strongly denied the allegations. Born in Banbury, Oxon, he had a successful music career in the 1970s and 1980s before he was jailed in 2006 for child sex offences in Vietnam.
In 2009 Savile defended Glitter, who has been convicted of downloading child pornography in Britain and abusing children in Vietnam.
Savile said: “If you said to that copper, what’s Gary Glitter done wrong? Well nothing really. He’s just sat at home watching dodgy films.”
Allegations against Savile include sexual assaults of patients at Broadmoor, where he was initially an “honorary entertainments officer”.
Brian McGinnis ran the mental health division of the Department of Health and Social Services in 1987, when plans were drawn up to appoint Savile to run a task force overseeing the hospital.
The Department of Health is holding an inquiry into how Savile came to be appointed to the task force and into the access he gained to patients in all three hospitals.