Philip Allott: Police Commissioner 'lost trust of community' in the wake of Sarah Everard comments

Political figures last night accused Philip Allott of “losing the trust of the community” as he finally bowed to intense pressure in the wake of his comments on the murder of Sarah Everard and resigned as North Yorkshire’s police commissioner.

Mr Allott announced yesterday that he was stepping down as the county’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) in an open letter following more than 1,000 official complaints surrounding comments he made a fortnight ago in the wake of the murder of Ms Everard.

Following the sentencing of serving Metropolitan Police Officer Wayne Couzens for her rape and murder, Mr Allott told BBC Radio York that Ms Everard should not have “submitted” to the false arrest Couzens made.

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He also called on women to be “streetwise” and know their legal rights around arrests.

Philip Allott: Police Commissioner steps down in the wake of comments on the rape and murder of Sarah Everard

The interview sparked outrage across the political spectrum, including Conservative Party co-chairman Oliver Dowden who branded Mr Allott’s comments as “completely unacceptable”.

Yesterday, North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime panel passed an unanimous vote of no confidence in Mr Allott’s ability to continue his role, which he was elected to earlier this year with a majority of over 30,000 votes.

Mr Allott announced his resignation from the £74,000-a-year post hours later, triggering a by-election for the next PFCC.

North Yorkshire County Council’s leader Carl Les, who sits on the panel, told The Scotsman’s sister paper The Yorkshire Post: “I think Mr Allott came to realise his position was untenable.

“He lost so much trust among the community, support groups, and his own staff. It was difficult to see how he could continue. Only he could assess the damage that had been done to his service and his agenda. It is the right thing for him to do. Clearly he thought he could retrieve the

situation with the groups that do excellent work, but the panel did not share that confidence. He’s obviously reflected and decided he can’t do it.”

In his resignation statement, Mr Allott wrote: “I apologise unreservedly for my remarks. They do not reflect my views.

“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.

“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.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer implored the Government to look at how PFCCs can be held to account.

Speaking on a visit to Yorkshire, he said: “What I find astonishing is the Prime Minister and Home Secretary have been silent on this. It was obvious when he made those comments that he had to go.

“It’s certainly worth looking at what we should do in a situation when someone should resign but won’t. He probably would have gone sooner if the Prime Minister had spoken out.”

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