Police boss slammed for saying women need to be 'streetwise' after Sarah Everard murder
The comment comes hours after Met advice for women to 'wave down a bus' enraged critics
A police boss has ignited further rage around the Met's response to the Sarah Everard murder by saying women need to be "streetwise" about police powers of arrest.
Speaking about the case, a day after Wayne Couzens was jailed for a whole life term, North Yorkshire commissioner Philip Allott implied Everard should never have "submitted" to being arrested by Couzens.
The former firearms officer used his police ID to stop Everard under the guide of a Covid guidelines breach before handcuffing her and detaining her in his car. He then drove to Kent where he raped and murdered the 33-year-old before setting her alight and disposing of her body.
A court heard during sentencing that Couzens had spent at least a month travelling to London to research his crimes before going out "hunting a lone female to kidnap and rape".
Speaking on BBC Radio York, Allott said of the Coivd stop, that women should be aware this was not an indictable offence - one considered serious enough to warrant a prison sentence or crown court hearing.
"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," he said.
"Perhaps women need to consider in terms of the legal process, to just learn a bit about that legal process".
Lucy Arnold, who organised a vigil in York following Everard's death, branded Allott's comments "horrifically offensive".
Allott's incendiary remarks come as the Met weathers a day of outrage after telling women to "shout or wave a bus down" if they don't trust a male officer. The advice added to a barrage of mounting pressure from the public and MPs for the Met to address violence against women, and amid calls for Police Commissioner Cressida Dick to resign, in light of the Met's failings around the Couzens case.
Arnold told the BBC: "Does anyone really feel like they can stand up to a police officer? "I am very confident I know my rights, I know the law, but no I wouldn't feel confident at all."
Allott later tweeted his comments were not intended to imply blame.
"Nobody is blaming the victim what I am saying is that we need to inform women far better of their rights, something I intend to action here in North Yorkshire ASAP."
The tweet was later deleted.
In a later tweet Allot issued an apology saying his comments were "insensitive" and that he wished to "retract them in full".
The Twitter account, Everyday Sexism, was equally appalled by Allott's comments.
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 https://t.co/brN6rRSf2q #FixTheSystemNotTheWomen pic.twitter.com/eja5uJp7z2
— EverydaySexism (@EverydaySexism) October 1, 2021