Week Ahead: Scrutiny for North Yorkshire police commissioner Philip Allott after Sarah Everard comments

Philip Allott faces scrutiny, a ‘cavewoman’ takes on a fundraising challenge and a heritage railway puts on beer and music. John Blow looks at the week ahead.
Philp Allott being declared the new Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire in May this year. Picture: Tony Johnson.Philp Allott being declared the new Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire in May this year. Picture: Tony Johnson.
Philp Allott being declared the new Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire in May this year. Picture: Tony Johnson.

Facing the music

“Entirely misconceived” comments by North Yorkshire’s police commissioner Philip Allott about the murder of Sarah Everard will be discussed at a meeting this week.

The Conservative politician faced condemnation after a BBC Radio York interview where he claimed women should be “streetwise” about when they can be arrested and added that Ms Everard, who was originally from York, shouldn’t have “submitted” to arrest by killer police officer Wayne Couzens.

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Hundreds of complaints were submitted to Mr Allott’s office, while a petition calling for his resignation from his £74,400-per-year post had been signed by thousands of people last week.

The meeting of the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel, which is chaired by Carl Les, the Conservative leader of North Yorkshire County Council, on Thursday this weekhad been due to take place in person but the meeting has now been changed to a virtual hearing. The agenda includes 30 minutes for public questions, before members of the panel – which is made up of cross-party local councillors – have their say on the controversy.

A statement issued by the panel said an in-person meeting would have required a “strict limitation” on numbers due to Covid precautions.

Mr Allott has since said his comments were “wrong, entirely misconceived and grossly insensitive” in an apologetic open letter.

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The Yorkshire Post has previously called for his resignation over the matter.

‘Cavewoman’ can do it

A special mention must go to the enterprising “cavewoman” who will take on a mammoth challenge, living underground for 105 hours to raise funds aimed at saving Yorkshire’s own show cavern.

The owner of the Yorkshire Dales’ Stump Cross Caverns, once home to the prehistoric Wolverine, wants to raise £200,000 to keep the lights on in the site.

The family-owned tourist attraction and educational business struggled through Covid-19 lockdowns and, unable to secure any grant support, ex-nurse and business owner Lisa Bowerman – “the Yorkshire Cavewoman” – has turned to a crowdfunding platform to raffle her Pateley Bridge holiday apartment to raise £200,000 for much needed maintenance work at the attraction.

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Lisa will be livestreaming her 105 hours living, eating and sleeping down in the cavern with her partner Nick, taking her supplies and camp equipment 100 feet below ground on Tuesday, returning to the surface at 8pm on Friday.

It comes after a previous campaign to win their beloved VW camper van, which “was purely survival due to the pandemic”.

Stump Cross Caverns is a natural limestone cave system set in the Yorkshire Dales created some 350 million years ago. Discovered in 1860 by local lead miners, the caverns were opened to public viewing and later findings included the remains of Ice Age animals including the ‘Wolverine’, a small wolf-like mammal.

To pledge funds, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/win-a-home-pateley-bridge.

Steam and beer

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The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway will host its own Beer and Music Festival.

Taking place between Thursday and Sunday, the heritage and tourism attraction is inviting ticketholders to taste a wide selection of beers from all over the country, along with ciders, wine and gin.

Live music will be on at the Exhibition Hall in Oxenhope and in a marquee at Ingrow. For more information, visit www.kwvr.co.uk.