Philip Allott’s grudging resignation is two weeks too late – The Yorkshire Post says

IT is important, at the outset, to set out the strength of opposition to Philip Allott before his grudging resignation as North Yorkshire’s police, crime and fire commissioner in the wake of his despicable comments nearly a fortnight ago about Sarah Everard’s murder.

Philip Allott has resigned as North Yorkshire's police, fire and crime commissioner.

Every member of North Yorkshire’s police and crime panel had, hours earlier, unanimously endorsed a vote of no confidence in his leadership – including Tory colleagues of Mr Allott and North Yorkshire County Council leader Carl Les. Even then, he hesitated before finally choosing to quit hours later.

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Nearly every member of Mr Allott’s 32 staff had, a day earlier, been the signatories of an unprecedented letter in which they said they were embarrassed to work with the £74,000 a year Commissioner, and accused him of making “sexist and misogynistic” comments towards female colleagues – accusations that he has still to address in full.

Philip Allott has been North Yorkshire's police, fire and crime commissioner since May. A by-election will now be held.

His resignation statement failed to suitably acknowledge the unstinting work of his team nor their wider concerns.

And even adversaries such as Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer were united in their condemnation of Mr Allott after he suggested
that women needed to be more “streetwise” following the abduction, rape and murder of Sarah, whose family come from York, by a Metropolitan Police officer exploiting his status to make a false arrest.

Sarah Everard was abducted, raped and murdered by a serving police officer.

Rarely, if ever, has a holder of public office in Yorkshire attracted such opprobrium – and it is thanks to the persistence of each and every person, and organisation, who took great offence at Mr Allott’s outdated views that they maintained this pressure when the national news agenda switched to other issues. But what is regrettable is that it took a fortnight for Mr Allott to accept the inevitable. “If I followed the instruction of The Yorkshire Post, I should have resigned every day last week,” he told his crime panel as he sought sympathy.

He should have done so – this title was only reflecting the views of its readers and the wider region – and was more than vindicated when Mr Allott trivilaised matters, as the panel delivered its unaminous 11-0 verdict, by joking: “I’ve certainly not been arrested yet by the police, but that may well follow after today.”

This glib aside showed that Mr Allott had neither the temperament or professionalism for such a role.

What he repeatedly neglected is that the primary purpose of Commissioners is to champion victims – not denigrate them – and his candour actually exposed a series of out of touch beliefs which have no place at all in society, never mind the at the top of a police force.

One of the many floral tributes at countless shrines to Sarah Everard after her murder earlier this year.

This scandal also revealed a democratic deficit due to crime commissioners being exempt from the ‘recall’ sanctions that apply to MPs if their misconduct falls below certain standards and his anomaly needs addressing – if only to spare other communities suffering North Yorkshire’s recent ignominy.

In the meantime, Philip Alliott’s belated departure allows the focus to shift back on to work to treat misogyny as a hate crime, and make the county’s streets safer for all, while the process begins to elect a Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner who can, at last, do justice to the importance of the role.

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