Julia Mulligan – who, herself, was the victim of a rape attack when aged 15 years – says it is now “far too late” for her successor Philip Allott to restore his reputation as calls for him to resign mount.
This is the first time that she has spoken out since Mr Allott caused outrage over a week ago after suggesting that women needed to be more “streetwise” in the wake of the abduction, rape and murder of Sarah by a serving Metropolitan Police officer.
He ventured that Sarah, a 31-year-old marketing executive whose family come from York, should have resisted arrest when confronted by Pc Wayne Couzens by Clapham Common, London.
In an exclusive column for The Yorkshire Post, she also condemns the decision of North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Panel to meet in a ‘virtual’ format next Thursday – rather than in a public setting where Mr Allott, and colleagues, can hear the serious misgivings of women.
“Taking refuge behind a screen is cheap, cowardly, and hardly shows a willingness to reflect and learn,” she writes in today’s newspaper.
Her intervention comes as a senior Labour politician backs this newspaper’s call for ‘recall’ legislation – the law that allows MPs to be held to account by voters when their conduct falls short of the standards expected of them – to be extended to crime commissioners.
Provisional proposals were debated in 2014 before falling by the wayside, leaving no means open to North Yorkshire’s crime panel – headed by county council leader Carl Les – or residents to remove Mr Allott from his £74,000 a year post unless he chooses to resign.
Draft laws debated in Parliament seven years ago could have triggered ‘recall’ elections if a Police and Crime Panel “passed a motion of no confidence” in their respective commissioner.
This threshold would also me met if local councils representing “at least half the population of the police area” also backed a no confidence move.
Dan Jarvis, the outgoing South Yorkshire metro mayor and Labour MP for Barnsley Central, hopes MPs can persuade the Government to re-introduce the legislation.
“It is important that crime commissioners are subjected to the same ‘recall’ laws that are applied to MPs,” he said.
Meanwhile Mr Allott issued another apology yesterday for his comments – just a day after he conceded himself that they were “repugnant”.
He said it was not “the kind of language”that he would normally use and he was “horrified” that so much offence had been caused.
However he said he had come to the conclusion that his resignation would serve little benefit to the people of North Yorkshire. “No, I will not as it is more important to carry through the mandate I was elected to do,” he told the BBC.
He also appeared dismissive of the 800 letters of complaint received by his office, calls for his resignation from, amongst others, the Bishop of Ripon, and the 9,000 signatories of a petition calling on him to quit – even though the public are powerless to intervene.
Mr Allott pointed out that he was elected by over 80,000 people – more than any MP in North Yorkshire. It prompted a former colleague of the commissioner to contact this newspaper and describe the latest response as “just appalling”.
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