Keir Starmer joins chorus of people telling North Yorkshire police boss to quit over Sarah Everard comments
A North Yorkshire police boss has been urged to resign after he said women “need to be streetwise” about powers of arrest in the wake of the Sarah Everard case.
Wayne Couzens, a Metropolitan Police officer, falsely arrested Ms Everard in order to kidnap her before raping and murdering her.
Speaking to BBC Radio York on Friday, North Yorkshire police, fire and crime commissioner Philip Allott said Ms Everard “never should have submitted” to the arrest, prompting anger online.
In the interview, he said: “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.”
He later retracted his remarks and 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.”
In a now-deleted tweet, he also said: “Nobody is blaming the victim.
“What I am saying is that we need to inform women far better of their rights, something I intend to action here in North Yorkshire ASAP.”
‘He should go’
But many are calling for his resignation, including Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer.
Sir Keir said: “He should go. I can’t think of a more inappropriate thing for a police and crime commissioner to say at any time, but at this time in particular. He should consider his position.”
Silkie Carlo, director of privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: “I know my rights. If I was arrested by a police officer with a badge and handcuffs during lockdown, I would have no choice. Jess Phillips said the same this morning. It could have been any of us. She stood no chance. How dare you say she ‘submitted’. Please, for our safety, resign.”
Couzens, who joined the Metropolitan Police in 2018, was handed a rare full-life sentence at the Old Bailey on Thursday for the kidnap, rape and murder of the 33-year-old marketing executive as she walked home in south London in March.
Alison Hume, Labour’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner candidate in May 2021 for North Yorkshire is calling on the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire to step down with immediate effect.
“The victim blaming comments made today by Philip Allott about Sarah Everard and women generally are both shocking and offensive,” said Ms Hume.
“His cruel observation that Sarah should not have “submitted” to the arrest by a police officer made the hairs stand up on my neck.
“Who wouldn’t have done what they were told when shown a valid warrant card by a serving police officer? Sarah Everard did what any law abiding citizen would have done. It is beyond belief that Mr Allott would suggest anything to the contrary.”
Cllr Carol Runciman of the York Lib Dems called for his resignation and said: “As the elected Police Commissioner it is his duty to work with our communities, and the regional and local police force, to start the work to reassure all those who are rightfully horrified by Sarah’s murder and this Government’s lack of action to address violence against women.”