Calls for crime commissioner to quit after 'streetwise' comments

Calls for crime commissioner to quit after he said women ‘need to be street-wise’ in wake of Sarah Everard murder

  • Julian Smith said women have lost trust in Philip Allott following his comments
  • The crime commissioner said women ‘need to be streetwise’ about arrests
  • The comments were made in an interview following the Sarah Everard case
  • North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime panel will meet on Thursday to discuss
  • Critics branded his comments ‘horrifically insensitive’ and ‘victim blaming’

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.

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, used his position to falsely arrest the 33-year-old for breaking lockdown rules in order to kidnap her before raping and murdering her.

He was jailed for life last month.

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.’

Former chief Julian Smith (pictured) said the recent comments were ‘completely unacceptable’ 

Former chief whip Julian Smith said Philip Allott ‘should go’ for suggesting women ‘need to be streetwise’ about arrests in the wake of the Sarah Everard case

Mr Allott made the comments during an interview on BBC Radio York and were branded ‘horrifically offensive’ by critics.

During the interview, host Georgey Spanswick asked: ‘How on earth do my stepdaughters, me, my friends, how do we protect ourselves now?’

Mr Allot said: ‘A police officer can’t just arrest you. There has to be a reason.

Wayne Couzens was jailed for the rest of his life after using his position as a Metropolitan Police officer to falsely arrest Miss Everard, 33, for breaking Covid rules before raping and murdering her

‘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, 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.

‘Perhaps women need to consider in terms of the legal process, to just learn a bit about that legal process.’

His comments were challenged by host Spanswick, who said: ‘Why is it down to me Philip? Why is it down to women because actually, this is down to one man in the police force and there are serious doubts about this man’s conduct?’

He later issued an apology for his remarks.

On Twitter, he said: ‘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.’

Tory chairman Oliver Dowden said he and Boris Johnson had been ‘outraged’ by the comments from Mr Allott.

Asked about the comments last week Mr Dowden told Sky News: ‘The Prime Minister and I were outraged by what he said. It was completely unacceptable. 

‘I have been very clear in condemning it but I know the Prime Minister shares that view.

‘He (Allott) did immediately apologise and I think that’s appropriate for him to do so.’

Asked whether Mr Allott would be able to stand again for election to the role, Mr Dowden said ‘I’m not going to pre-empt the selection process.

‘The Prime Minister and I profoundly disagreed with what he said, it was a stupid thing to have said and he has rightly apologised for it.’ 

Oliver Dowden blasted North Yorkshire PCC Philip Allott over his ‘stupid’ comments, which sparked demands for his resignation.

Wayne Couzens used his position as a Metropolitan Police officer to falsely arrest Miss Everard, 33, for breaking lockdown rules before raping and murdering her

Mr Allott received angry feedback on social media, with some users calling for him to resign.

Janemortsdrizz posted on Twitter: ‘No Philip. You told us that Sarah Everard is to blame for her own murder because she didn’t question her false arrest by a serving police officer. DISGUSTING. RESIGN!’

Victoria Wilkie tweeted: ‘I’m disgusted by your comments. It’s victim blaming… the only person to blame is him.’

Another user, FedUpandBack, added: ‘Nice victim blaming, you should be ashamed.’

Before moving to London, 33-year-old Sarah Everard was originally from York, the area covered by Mr Allot’s force, and her family still lives there.

Lucy Arnold, of campaign group Reclaim the Streets, who organised a vigil for Ms Everard outside York Minster, was among those angered by Mr Allott’s comments.

She said: ‘I think frankly that was a horrifically offensive thing to say.

‘Does anyone really feel like they can stand up to a police officer?

‘I am very confident I know my rights, I know the law, but no I wouldn’t feel confident at all.’

In his earlier interview, Mr Allot was critical of the Met Police’s handling of reports about Couzen’s behaviour leading up to the murder.

He said: A murderer typically commits seven crimes before going on to murder, that man we know committed at least two crimes.

‘The police knew, so what should have happened is that it should have been picked up straight away.’ 

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