Sarah Everard: North Yorkshire police commissioner urged to resign for saying victim should not have 'submitted' to false arrest

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A police boss has been urged to resign after he said Sarah Everard should never have "submitted" to a fake arrest and that women "need to be streetwise" about the powers that officers have.

North Yorkshire police commissioner Philip Allott was criticised for the comments he made while discussing the rape and murder of the 33-year-old marketing executive by Wayne Couzens.

The ex-Metropolitan Police officer placed her in handcuffs and falsely arrested her in order to kidnap her.

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."

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

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for him to resign, saying: "He should go - I can't think of a more inappropriate thing for a policeman crime commissioner to say at this or anytime, but in this in particular.

"I think he should reconsider his position."

Mr Allott's 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.

"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."

Watch: Boris Johnson says 'infuriating' police aren't taking violence against women seriously enough

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 as a YouGov poll found 38% of adults in the UK think Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick should resign (27% said she should stay and 35% didn't know).

Of those, 44% of men surveyed thought she should resign compared to 32% of women.

Dame Cressida has faced several calls to quit over Ms Everard's case, which has reignited public debate around the safety of women.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is standing by the Met Police commissioner.

"I do believe in the police. I do think that we can trust the police. And I think the police do a wonderful, wonderful job," he said.

Asked if he was standing by Dame Cressida, he replied: "Absolutely."

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 was accused of having a tone-deaf response by making 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.

It said if a person feels in "real and imminent danger and they do not believe the officer is who they say they are" they should shout out to a passer-by, run into a house, knock on a door, call 999 if possible or wave a bus down.

Patsy Stevenson, who was arrested at a vigil for Ms Everard in the days following her murder, told the Press Association the advice is "almost laughable if it wasn't so disgusting".

Images of physics student Ms Stevenson being handcuffed and held down by two male officers sparked anger over Scotland Yard's policing of the gathering following Ms Everard's disappearance in south London.

Refuge chief executive Ruth Davison said: "Time and again, the Metropolitan Police have responded to incidents of gender-based violence by telling women to change their behaviour.

"Time and again, the responsibility is placed on women to protect themselves.

"This is simply not good enough. Police forces across the country must be prepared for a fundamental shift and overhaul in their attitudes towards women and root out the misogyny that is at the heart of these failings.

The Met stressed the advice was given for specific, and rare, scenarios people might find themselves in.

Policing minister Kit Malthouse earlier told Sky News' Kay Burley that Wayne Couzens' actions have "undermined the good work of thousands and thousands of police officers".

He said the murder of Ms Everard had "struck a devastating blow to confidence in the police, and in the Met Police in particular", but defended Dame Cressida.

He said: "She is a dedicated and talented and committed police officer who is driving the Metropolitan Police to ever greater standards of care and improvement and fighting crime."

Are women safe on our streets?

The murder of Sarah Everard by a serving Metropolitan Police officer has triggered an outpouring of concern over women's safety in the UK.

We want you to share your experiences, and your questions for our panel of experts. We'd also love to hear your solutions.

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