Police boss who said Sarah Everard should have ‘resisted arrest’ resigns

The commissioner has said he cannot rebuilt trust after his comments

Thomas Kingsley
Thursday 14 October 2021 20:58
Met Police launch independent review after Sarah Everard murder
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North Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner has resigned after saying women such as Sarah Everard should have been more “streetwise”.

The comments from Philip Allott came after it was revealed that the former Met officer Wayne Couzens used a fake arrest to kidnap Ms Everard. He went on to rape and murder her.

A meeting of the panel Mr Allott reports to passed a unanimous vote of no confidence in him this morning.

In an open letter, the former commissioner said he had been trying to “rebuild trust and confidence in my work as York and North Yorkshire’s police, fire and crime commissioner” following the comments he made in an interview with Radio York.

Mr Allott’s comments were met with uproar

“I misspoke and I am devastated at the effect that this has had on victims of crime and the groups that support them. I have tried to say this again and again but I recognise that what I have said has not always been heard as I intended,” he said.

Mr Allott went on to say that victims of violence against women and girls cannot be heard “if airwaves are filled” with discussions about his future.

“That is why I am doing the honourable thing and resigning as police, fire and crime commissioner – to restore confidence in the office which I believe will be almost impossible for me to do, and to enable victims’ voices to be heard clearly without the distraction of the continued furore which surrounds me,” Mr Allott said.

Wayne Couzens deceived Sarah Everard before arresting and subsequently murdering her

Mr Allott tendered his resignation in an open letter to the chief executive of Selby District Council and the police area returning officer.

He had been accused of victim blaming after he said in a radio interview that women should be more “streetwise” about powers of arrest and that Ms Everard, whose family live in York, should not have “submitted” to arrest by Mr Couzens, a serving police officer.

“So women, first of all, need to be streetwise about when they can be arrested and when they can’t be arrested. She should never have been arrested and submitted to that,” he said in the interview.

Simon Dennis, chief executive of the Office of the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said a new commissioner will be selected.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said the resignation was “absolutely right”.

“His awful comments show that misogyny needs tackling, and the community response to them shows it will no longer be tolerated,” the MP said.

“Yet again we’ve seen a total failure of leadership from the Tories. They should have forced him to leave two weeks ago when Keir Starmer called for it.”

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