Vote of no confidence passes in police boss who said Sarah Everard should have ‘resisted arrest’

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Vote of no confidence passes in police boss who said Sarah Everard should have ‘resisted arrest’
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A police commissioner who said Sarah Everard shouldn’t have “submitted” to her arrest by the man who went on to rape and murder her is refusing to resign despite local politicians passing a vote of no confidence in him.

All 11 members of the North Yorkshire Fire and Crime Panel voted in favour of removing Philip Allott, police commissioner for North Yorkshire, from his £74,400 role.

In the days following Ms Everard’s murder, Mr Allot said that women should be more “streetwise” about powers of arrest and suggested that Ms Everard could have done more to escape the clutches of her killer, Wayne Couzens.

Couzens, a serving Metropolitan Police officer at the time of the offence, cited Covid laws to deceive the 23-year-old London marketing executive into thinking she had broken lockdown rules.

He then bundled Ms Everard into his car before driving away and murdering her.

Mr Allott later apologised for the remarks, describing them as "absolutely ridiculous" and “pathetic”.

But the remarks caused a national outcry and he is facing calls to quit his job. The politicians’ panel had received 121 complaints about Mr Allott’s comments and his own office received more than 800.

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."

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.

Couzens, 48, pleaded guilty to all the charges against him. He was sentenced to a full life-term in prison in September.

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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