Police boss resigns over Sarah Everard 'streetwise' comment

North Yorkshire's police boss has resigned after saying women needed to be "streetwise" following Sarah Everard's murder by a police officer. Philip Allott has handed in his resignation as North Yorks

Police boss resigns over Sarah Everard 'streetwise' comment

North Yorkshire's police boss has resigned after saying women needed to be "streetwise" following Sarah Everard's murder by a police officer.

Philip Allott has handed in his resignation as North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner after a panel he reports to urged him to quit, with all 11 members backing a no-confidence motion in him.

A fortnight before, the Conservative told BBC Radio York women should know "when they can be arrested and when they can't be arrested" during a conversation about Met Police officer Wayne Couzens using his warrant card to falsely arrest Ms Everard for breaching coronavirus guidelines.

Philip Allott has refused to step down
Image: North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Philip Allott has resigned over his comments about Sarah Everard

Couzens then went on to rape and murder Ms Everard before burning her body in a fridge.

Mr Allott's comments prompted more than 800 complaints to the radio station and 121 complaints to the panel.

In an open letter tendering his resignation, Mr Allott said he had "tried to rebuild trust and confidence in my work" after "unreservedly" apologising for his comments but after the panel meeting "it seems clear to me that the task will be exceptionally difficult, if it is possible at all".

The police chief, who was elected five months before, told the radio station: "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.

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"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."

Wayne Couzens pleaded guilty to the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard
Image: Wayne Couzens pleaded guilty to the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard

In his resignation letter, Mr Allott added that he "misspoke", the comments "do not reflect my view" and he is "devastated at the effect that this has had on victims of crime".

"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," he wrote.

He said it would take "a long time and a lot of resources" to rebuild trust in him, which is "time victims do not have", so he was "doing the honourable thing and resigning" as he think it will be "almost impossible" for him to rebuild trust in the office.

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Mr Allott originally refused to step down, despite admitting it was a "car crash of an answer", as he said if everyone resigned who made a mistake in an interview "nothing would ever get done in this country".

He had said he thought he could regain the public's trust and that he wanted to continue with his job despite "emotions running incredibly high".

The day before his resignation, the majority of his staff signed a letter saying they have no confidence in him and his comments brought his office into "disrepute".