NORTH Yorkshire’s police commissioner has apologised after suggesting women need to be “streetwise” in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder.
Philip Allott – the police, fire and crime commissioner (PFCC) for North Yorkshire – said Ms Everard should “never have…submitted” to being arrested by former police officer Wayne Couzens.
It comes after the family of the York-born marketing executive said Couzens had “abused” his role in the force “to lure Sarah to her death”.
Referring to the coronavirus laws her murderer Wayne Couzens used to falsely arrest her, Conservative Philip Allott told BBC Radio York earlier on Friday: “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.
“Perhaps women need to consider in terms of the legal course of action, to just learn a bit about that legal course of action.”
In a tweet later, the PFCC said: “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 complete.”
York Lib Dem councillors hit out at the comments and have since called for his resignation.
Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “This victim-blaming comment made by Mr Allott is not only offensive but deeply counterproductive to the intensifying calls for action to stop violence against women in the light of this tragic murder. Frankly, his apology is not enough, and he should resign.
“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 without of action to address violence against women.
“Since Sarah Everard’s tragic death, 80 women have allegedly been killed at the hands of men. Making urgent legislative changes, and rebuilding trust in the system and police is the only way this can be addressed. Government and police forces must start to take violence against women and girls seriously. There is need for an institutional, in addition as legislative change, throughout policing and government to protect women and girls and make our streets safe.”
In a now-deleted tweet, Mr Allott 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.”
Lucy Arnold, from campaign group Reclaim The Streets, branded his statement “horrifically offensive”.
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