Philip Allott must go because no apology can suffice, says ex-chief executive of Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Nazir Afzal

Philip Allott’s position as North Yorkshire police commissioner is “untenable” because no form of apology over his comments about Sarah Everard’s murder can suffice, the former chief executive of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners has said.

Speaking in advance of today’s crunch police and crime panel where Mr Allott will face the public and local councillors following his comments about Sarah Everard's murder, Nazir Afzal, the former Chief Crown Prosecutor for North West England who served as chief executive of the APCC between May 2016 and April 2017, said: “He should not be in that role.

“What he has said goes beyond an apology. He has apologised because of how it was perceived and how it was received. But actually what it shows us is what he is and you can’t apologise for who you are.”

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“When you blame women and Sarah Everard particularly for what happened to her, you are doing us no favours. You are meant to be the person ultimately representing the police to the public. There is no way in my judgement that he should remain in that role.

Philip Allott faces a meeting of the police and crime panel today.

“He has lost the confidence of the communities of North Yorkshire and beyond.

“The other thing it does is emboldens the perpetrator. There are men out there who will think he is right and women should look after themselves. Unless men see they have the role and responsibility to fix this issue, it won’t be fixed.

“What Philip Allott has done is added to that narrative that men are doing all they can and women should do more.”

The police and crime panel are expected to hold a vote of no confidence in Mr Allott today but have no power to remove him from his £74,400-per-year job.

Nazir Afzal has called for Mr Allott to resign.

Mr Afzal said it is time to consider introducing recall powers for police and crime commissioners in a similar way to those available for MPs.

“The recall power is not available unlike MPs and I think that was a mistake. It should be remedied quickly but it won’t be remedied in time.

“The politics comes into play. I can’t believe the 20-odd Conservative PCCs around the country who are as determined as the rest of us to tackle violence against women and girls would want to work with him. Then you have got local policing - how do they feel about what he has said.

“The panel have the power to say they have no confidence in him. I can’t think of a stronger case where a panel could say they have no confidence. An apology isn’t good enough when what you have said shows us who you are.”

Labour question whether Conservatives have to act

Mr Afzal's intervention comes as Labour questioned whether Mr Allott remains fit to represent the Conservative party if he continues to refuse to resign over his remarks about the murder of Sarah Everard.

Labour party chair Anneliese Dodds has written to her Conservative counterpart Oliver Dowden about the issue.

Mr Allott has faced heavy criticism after suggesting on Radio York that Ms Everard should not have “submitted” to arrest by her killer, police officer Wayne Couzens. He also said women should be more “streetwise” about police powers of arrest.

Ms Dodds said: “Philip Allott’s comments were abhorrent. The idea that somehow the victims of violence need to be more ‘streetwise’ is insulting and deeply insensitive.

“His comments perpetuate the myth that it is up to women to change their behaviour to prevent the epidemic of violence against women and girls in this country. Instead, male perpetrators’ behaviour needs to change.

“The Conservative party needs to stop running away from its responsibilities around violence against women and girls – and that starts with distancing itself from Mr Allott, who is still refusing to do the decent thing and resign.”

In the letter to Mr Dowden, she writes: “None of us can imagine the horrors of the final hours of Sarah Everard’s life, and all of our thoughts are with her family and friends following such a horrendous murder.

"The idea that she should or could have challenged a plain clothes police officer with a warrant card is ridiculous, hurtful and insulting. It is victim-blaming of the worst order. And it repeats the appalling assumption that the solution to the epidemic of violence of women and girls that we see in our country is somehow for women to change their behaviour.

“We should be absolutely clear: the way to tackle this issue is for male perpetrators to stop assaulting and murdering women; not for women to get more “streetwise”.

“It speaks volumes about Mr Allott’s values and those of the Conservative Party that he has not done the decent thing and resigned. If he will not act, I am writing to ask if you will: do you consider Mr Allott to still be fit to serve as a representative of your Party in this way, following his remarks?

A Conservative Party spokesperson said: “The Party Chairman condemned Philip Allott at the time for his totally inappropriate remarks about the Sarah Everard case. Mr Allott has rightly acknowledged his comments were completely wrong and has wholeheartedly apologised for them.”

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