Police commissioner urged to resign by local panel over Sarah Everard comments

Police Commissioner Urged To Resign By Local Panel Over Sarah Everard Comments Police Commissioner Urged To Resign By Local Panel Over Sarah Everard Comments
Police presence at a memorial to Sarah Everard, © PA Archive/PA Images
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By Tom Wilkinson, PA

A police commissioner whose comments following the murder of Sarah Everard caused a national outcry has received a formal vote of no confidence from local politicians.

But despite calling his own comments “absolutely ridiculous” and “pathetic”, Philip Allott, North Yorkshire police, fire and crime commissioner, told an online public meeting he would not step down from his £74,400 role.

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 her killer Wayne Couzens, a serving police officer.

The panel had received 121 complaints and Mr Allott’s office more than 800, the panel heard.


The British prime minister was said to have been “outraged” by Mr Allott’s comments.


All 11 members of the North Yorkshire Fire and Crime Panel, made up of local politicians and two independent members of the public, gave him a vote of no confidence in continuing in his role.

That vote effectively brought the meeting to a close.

The panel had no powers to sanction the commissioner, but the members who spoke during the meeting urged him to go, saying he had lost the confidence of the public.

Martin Walker, a retired district judge and independent member of the panel, told him: “You talked about regaining your credibility.

“You have no credibility.”

Councillor Tim Grogan, a retired detective, said Mr Allott’s comments were “lamentable” for an individual, “but as a commissioner, with the seriousness of that role, frankly, they were unforgivable, at best naive, crass even, at worst wrong-headed, misguided”.

He added: “I believe your position is unsustainable.”

Panel chairman Councillor Carl Les added: “Only you can judge the damage done, only you can resign.

“We cannot make you, we can only make recommendations, and there is a frustration in that.

“But I think you should consider your position now.”

Earlier, Mr Allott addressed the meeting from his office, saying he wanted to apologise “without reservation” for his comments during the BBC Radio York interview and said tensions had run high since then.


He said: “I gave a car crash of an answer, I accept that.

“As all of North Yorkshire knows, it was wrong, entirely misconceived (and) grossly insensitive.”

Sarah Everard, whose family live in York, was murdered by a policeman (Family handout/PA)

He claimed the issue had been “amplified” by it continually being played back on BBC Look North, which “just rakes over a major mistake I made”.

He said the answer did not reflect his views, or “more importantly his actions” in protecting women and girls from male violence.

“It is not for women or girls to protect themselves, it’s for men not to harass, intimidate, assault and murder women,” he said.

“I would like to apologise for the impact of that answer to Sarah Everard’s family and all the victims of violence.”

Mr Allott said he was undertaking training in understanding violence against women and girls, adding: “That said, I have experienced domestic violence myself, indeed, I classify myself as a survivor.”

He then listed a series of local charitable organisations and support groups which have agreed to meet him despite the fallout from his comments.

Mr Les said that unlike MPs, there is no legislation to recall police commissioners, and he said that should change.

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

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