Philip Allott, North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, has resigned from his position.
Mr Allott came under increasing pressure to step down after saying Sarah Everard “never should have submitted” to arrest by killer police officer Wayne Couzens.
His resignation comes as councillors passed a motion of no confidence in his leadership and fellow Conservative politicians, including Ripon MP Julian Smith, called for him to resign.
In a statement, Mr Allott said:
“Over the past two weeks I have tried to rebuild trust and confidence in my work as York and North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner. I needed to do that following comments I made on an interview with Radio York regarding the horrific abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard.
“I need to be clear. I apologise unreservedly for my remarks. They do not reflect my views. I misspoke and I am devastated at the effect that this has had on victims of crime and the groups that support them. I have tried to say this again and again but I recognise that what I have said has not always been heard as I intended.
“I had hoped I could rebuild trust, to restore confidence. I was pleased that so many victims groups had accepted that I was genuinely sorry and were willing to work with me to help me in the mammoth task I had ahead.
“Following this morning’s meeting of the Police and Crime Panel it seems clear to me that the task will be exceptionally difficult, if it is possible at all. It would take a long time and a lot of resources of my office and the many groups who do excellent work supporting victims.
“This is time victims do not have. There are women and girls in York and North Yorkshire today suffering at the hands of men. Victims and the groups who support them need to be heard. They cannot be heard if the airwaves are filled with discussion about my future.
“That is why I am doing the honourable thing and resigning as Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner – to restore confidence in the office which I believe will be almost impossible for me to do, and to enable victims’ voices to be heard clearly without the distraction of the continued furore which surrounds me.
“I entered public life because I wanted to make a difference. I still do. So, I am committing myself to doing all I can as a private individual to support victims groups. The pledge I made as Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner was genuine. It is one I will keep.
“I would like to thank my office and especially my Chief Executive for his help and support, especially during the last two weeks which has been a challenging time for everyone at the OPFCC.
“Whoever the new Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner will be I wish them every success in what is one of the most demanding but rewarding jobs in the UK.”
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Mr Allott was elected to the position back in May 2021 with 83,737 votes.
Simon Dennis, Chief Executive of the Office of the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, added:
“The North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel will now arrange the appointment of an acting Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner to be chosen in accordance with the law, from amongst the staff of the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.
“Further announcements will be made by the Panel in due course.
“In the meantime, the staff of the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire and York will continue to work to protect communities, support victims and keep residents safe and feeling safe.”