UK Police Commissioner Resigns Over Comments About Murdered Woman

UK Police Commissioner Resigns Over Comments About Murdered Woman
Undated family handout photo of Sarah Everard issued by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). (Family handout/CPS via PA)
Lily Zhou

A British police commissioner resigned on Thursday over his comment about the murder of a woman in the hands of a then-serving police officer.

Philip Allott, the resigned police, fire, and crime commissioner (PCC) for North Yorkshire who was accused of victim-blaming, apologised again for his comment, saying he “misspoke” and was “devastated” by the impact of his words.

Allott has been under pressure to resign since Oct. 1, when he said in a media interview that women need to be “streetwise about when they can be arrested and when they can’t be arrested,” and that Sarah Everard—a 33-year-old woman who was raped and murdered by a then-serving Metropolitan police officer after he fake-arrested her—“never should have submitted” to the arrest.

Allott tendered his resignation in an open letter to the chief executive of Selby District Council and police area returning officer. An acting PCC will be chosen from his staff until a by-election is held for the £74,400 role.

At an online public meeting of the North Yorkshire Fire and Crime panel on Thursday morning, all 11 members gave Allott a vote of no confidence, although it did not have the power to fire him.

He told the meeting he wanted to fight on, but issued a statement later saying he was “doing the honourable thing” and stepping down.

After the vote, it became clear that fighting on would be “exceptionally difficult, if it is possible at all,” Allott said in the statement.

“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,” he said.

Allott said he was resigning to “restore confidence in the office,” which he believes will be “almost impossible” for him to do.

He has also apologised for his comments shortly after making them, saying he realised they had been “insensitive.”

In a now-deleted tweet from the same day, Allott 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 wrote.

Before Everard’s murderer—48-year-old Wayne Couzens—was convicted on Sept. 30, the court heard that Everard “had been to a friend’s house for dinner at the height of the early 2021 lockdown made her more vulnerable to and more likely to submit to an accusation” that she had breached the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus regulations.

More than 1,000 complaints were made after Allott’s remarks.

PA contributed to this report.