A conservative police commissioner accused of blaming the victim in the murder of Sarah Everard resigned after learning there was a “catastrophic lack of confidence” in her position.
Philip Allott, who oversees North Yorkshire Police and area fire departments, has been criticized after saying women “need to be advised” about the powers of arrest and should “just learn a bit more about it. this legal process “in case they are approached by agents.
His remarks were made in a radio interview following the conviction of Everard’s murderer, Metropolitan Police Officer Wayne Couzens, who used his handcuffs and warrant card to kidnap the 33-year-old from a street from south London.
At a special meeting of the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Committee on Thursday, Allott admitted to making a “major mistake” in a “car accident” radio interview, but refused to several times to resign despite a unanimous vote of no confidence of the 11 members. panel.
However, three hours after the meeting, he announced his intention to step down, meaning a by-election will now be held. He said: “I had hoped that I could restore confidence, restore confidence. I was happy that so many groups of victims accepted that I was truly sorry and were ready to work with me to help me with the colossal task that lay ahead.
“Following this morning’s Police and Crime panel meeting, it seems clear to me that the task will be exceptionally difficult, if not possible. It would take a lot of time and a lot of resources for my office and the many groups that do a great job of supporting victims. This is the time that the victims do not have.
Allott had faced a growing number of criticisms since his comments 13 days ago, including from Boris Johnson, Priti Patel and Keir Starmer. Demands for resignations rose this week when colleagues accused him of making “sexist and misogynistic” comments to female staff, allegations he denies.
Details of the alleged comments were not made public and Allott said they were disclosed “to damage my credibility.”
The majority of his team of 32 signed a letter urging him to resign, saying they were “shocked” and “appalled” by his comments. They said his response to criticism had been “dismissive and completely devoid of emotional intelligence or empathy, approaching contempt, for the human impact his words have had.”
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners (PFCC) were introduced in 2011 with the aim of holding the forces to account. However, they have been constantly criticized for being too weak, expensive – they are paid from £ 70,000 to £ 100,000 a year – and because they can only be fired if they are disqualified from holding public office.
Carl Les, a Tory board chief who chairs the oversight committee, said there was a “catastrophic lack of confidence” in Allott and that it was “frustrating” that he could not be removed from his post of £ 74,400 per year. Les said he would write to the government to recommend that the PFCCs can be sacked if they lose a vote of no confidence.
Allott, who previously ran a public relations firm and wrote a book on donkeys, said his comments revealed “gaps in my understanding of violence against women and girls” and that he believed to comments “every hour of every day”.
Almost 11,000 people have signed a petition calling for his resignation and nearly 1,000 have lodged a complaint with his office or with the North Yorkshire Police, Fire Department and the Criminal Commission.
Hours before resigning, Allott sought to downplay criticism, accusing BBC Look North of “raking in” his remarks by repeatedly airing them. Appearing by video link at the meeting, he said: “I can see that the tensions are high. We are still less than two weeks away from this interview. I have to say that if everyone quits who makes a mistake in terms of maintenance – and I accept that it was a sensitive interview – nothing would ever be done in the country. “