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Backlash as North Yorkshire police commissioner says Sarah Everard should not have ‘submitted’ to false arrest

Written by on 01/10/2021

Sarah Everard should never have “submitted” to fake arrest and women “need to be streetwise” about the powers police have, a police commissioner has said.

North Yorkshire police commissioner Philip Allott was criticised for the comments he made while discussing the murder and rape of the 33-year-old marketing executive by Wayne Couzens, in which the former Metropolitan Police officer falsely arrested her in order to kidnap her.

Mr Allott has since said he would like to “wholeheartedly apologise” for his comments and said he wishes “to retract them in full”.

North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Philip Allott
Image: Mr Allott has said he would like to “wholeheartedly apologise” for his comments

Earlier on Friday, Mr Allott told BBC Radio York: “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 process, to just learn a bit about that legal process.”

His remarks were lambasted by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who said: “These comments are appalling.

“It’s not up to women to fix this. It’s not us who need to change.

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“The problem is male violence, not women’s ‘failure’ to find ever more inventive ways to protect ourselves against it. For change to happen, this needs to be accepted by everyone.”

The @EverydaySexism Twitter account said: “Just when you think the absurdity of victim blaming could not possibly go any further, here is a Police Commissioner openly blaming Sarah Everard for what happened to her on BBC radio.”

After the backlash, Mr Allott tweeted: “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.”

It comes after the Metropolitan Police suggested women should wave down a bus or get the attention of passers-by if they are stopped by a police officer they do not trust.

The force made several suggestions about what people could do if they are approached by an officer but have concerns about their legitimacy.

It suggested people should ask where the officer’s colleagues are, where they have come from, why they are there and exactly why they are stopping or talking to them.

 Sky News

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