North Yorkshire police boss Philip Allott resigns after comments on Sarah Everard

Philip Allott
Philip Allott

Philip Allott says he wanted to 'restore confidence in the office'

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Philip Allott has resigned as North Yorkshire police, fire and crime commissioner after coming under fire for comments he made on the Sarah Everard murder, adding he wanted to “restore confidence in the office”.

Mr Allott tendered his resignation in an open letter to the chief executive of Selby District Council and police area returning officer.

He had been accused of victim blaming after he said in a radio interview that women should be more “streetwise” about powers of arrest and that Ms Everard, whose family live in York, should not have “submitted” to arrest by her killer Wayne Couzens, a serving police officer.

Mr Allott said he apologised “unreservedly” for his remarks, adding “they do not reflect my views”.

He said: “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.”

In his resignation letter, Mr Allott said he was “doing the honourable thing” following a meeting of the North Yorkshire Fire and Crime Panel on Thursday which gave him a vote of no confidence in continuing in his role.

He said: “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. It would take a long time and a lot of resources of my office and the many groups who do excellent work supporting victims.

“This is time victims do not have. There are women and girls in York and North Yorkshire today suffering at the hands of men. Victims and the groups who support them need to be heard. They cannot be heard if the airwaves are filled with discussion about my future.

“That is why I am doing the honourable thing and resigning as Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner – to restore confidence in the office which I believe will be almost impossible for me to do, and to enable victims’ voices to be heard clearly without the distraction of the continued furore which surrounds me.

“I entered public life because I wanted to make a difference. I still do. So, I am committing myself to doing all I can as a private individual to support victims groups. The pledge I made as Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner was genuine. It is one I will keep.”

The panel had received 121 complaints and Mr Allott’s office more than 800, the panel heard.

File photo dated 21/03/2021 of people viewing floral tributes left at the bandstand in Clapham Common, London, for Sarah Everard.
File photo dated 21/03/2021 of people viewing floral tributes left at the bandstand in Clapham Common, London, for Sarah Everard.

The Prime Minister was said to have been “outraged” by Mr Allott’s comments.

All 11 members of the North Yorkshire Fire and Crime Panel, made up of local politicians and two independent members of the public, gave him a vote of no confidence in continuing in his role.

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”.