Sarah Everard: Police boss ‘should go’ for 'women need to be streetwise' comments, says MP Julian Smith

Former chief whip Julian Smith said a police and crime commissioner “should go” for suggesting women “need to be streetwise” about arrests in the wake of the Sarah Everard case.

MP Julian Smith said a police and crime commissioner “should go” for suggesting women “need to be streetwise” about arrests in the wake of the Sarah Everard case. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Philip Allott, who oversees police and fire services in North Yorkshire, was widely condemned for his comments suggesting Ms Everard “never should have submitted” to the arrest by killer Wayne Couzens.

Couzens, a Metropolitan Police officer, falsely arrested the 33-year-old in order to kidnap her before raping and murdering her and was sentenced to a whole life order last month.

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The North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime panel will meet on Thursday with discussion of Mr Allott’s comments, for which he subsequently apologised, forming part of the agenda.

Mr Smith, MP for Skipton and Ripon and a former cabinet minister, tweeted: “Recent comments of the NY Police & Crime Commissioner were completely unacceptable.

“Prior to Thursday’s Police&Crime Panel meeting to discuss the PCC’s future I believe the PCC has lost trust of women and victims groups & should go-I have communicated this to the PCC& panel Chair.”

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During Couzens’ recent sentencing, it had emerged he had tricked the 33-year-old woman originally from York by falsely arresting her for ‘a breach of coronavirus guidelines’.

Mr Allott told BBC Radio York: “A police officer can’t just arrest you. There has to be a reason. So, Covid for example I would classify as a summary offence, it’s not an indictable i.e. sent to prison or potentially go to a Crown Court.

“So women first of all just 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 since issued an apology for his remarks.

He said on Twitter: “I would like to wholeheartedly apologise for my comments on BBC Radio York earlier today, which I realise have been insensitive and wish to retract them in full.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called the Conservative police commissioner’s comments ‘appalling' and said it is not up to women to fix male violence.

Ms Sturgeon previously tweeted: “The problem is male violence, not women’s ‘failure’ to find ever more inventive ways to protect ourselves against it.

"For change to happen, this needs to be accepted by everyone.”

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