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Police commissioner resigns over Sarah Everard comments

By PA News

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A police commissioner who sparked outrage after making comments about Sarah Everard’s murder has resigned hours after losing a no confidence vote.

North Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Allott decided to step down having initially said he wanted to try to regain the public’s trust, after what he admitted were “absolutely ridiculous” and “pathetic” comments he made in a radio interview.

More than 1,000 complaints were made after he said women should be more “streetwise” about powers of arrest and that Ms Everard should not have “submitted” to arrest by her killer Wayne Couzens, a serving police officer.

The Prime Minister was said to have been outraged by the comments, seen as being worse as Ms Everard’s family live in York, and they were considered by many as victim-blaming.

At an online public meeting of the North Yorkshire Fire and Crime panel, all 11 members gave him a vote of no confidence, although it did not have the power to fire him.

He told the meeting he wanted to fight on, but later on Thursday he issued a statement saying he was “doing the honourable thing” and stepping down.

Mr Allott again apologised for his remarks, saying he “misspoke” and was “devastated” by the impact of his words.

In his statement, he said: “I had hoped I could rebuild trust, to restore confidence.

“I was pleased that so many victims’ groups had accepted that I was genuinely sorry and were willing to work with me to help me in the mammoth task I had ahead.

“Following this morning’s meeting of the Police and Crime Panel it seems clear to me that the task will be exceptionally difficult, if it is possible at all.

“It would take a long time and a lot of resources of my office and the many groups who do excellent work supporting victims.

“This is time victims do not have.

Philip Allott had said Sarah Everard should not have ‘submitted’ to arrest by her killer, who was a serving policeman (family handout/PA)
Philip Allott had said Sarah Everard should not have ‘submitted’ to arrest by her killer, who was a serving policeman (family handout/PA)

“There are women and girls in York and North Yorkshire today suffering at the hands of men.

“Victims and the groups who support them need to be heard.

“They cannot be heard if the airwaves are filled with discussion about my 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.”

An acting PCC will be chosen from his staff until a by-election is held for the £74,400 role.

The meeting followed a report in the Yorkshire Post which said most of Mr Allott’s staff had signed a letter expressing they were appalled by his comments and made allegations about his behaviour towards colleagues.

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