A NEWPORT campaigner on violence against women is calling for a police and crime commissioner to resign over “victim blaming” comments he made about murder victim Sarah Everard. 

Rachel Williams, the founder of the Stand Up to Domestic Abuse organisation, has co-signed a letter with former North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones, solicitor Harriet Wistrich and academics and campaigners, including actor Michael Sheen, addressed to the police and crime panel in North Yorkshire. 

It calls for the panel to take “the appropriate action” against the area’s police and crime commissioner, Philip Allott, and asks they consider the letter as a formal complaint. 

Mr Allott had sparked outrage after he gave a radio in interview in which he said Sarah Everard “never should have submitted” to her arrest by killer Wayne Couzins in March this year. 

The killer, then a serving Metropolitan Police officer, used his police knowledge and equipment to falsely arrest the 33-year-old marketing executive in London. 

Ms Williams, who was seriously injured when her violent ex partner shot her as she worked in a Newport hairdressers in 2011, has become a leading campaigner against domestic abuse and male violence.

She said the comments made by Mr Allott mean he is “not fit for the job” of being a police and crime commissioner tasked with holding his local police force to account and leading on crime reduction in the area. 

Mr Allott, who was elected as a Conservative, has apologised and said he wishes to retract the comments made in a BBC interview. 

He told the broadcaster: “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." 

Politicians, including Labour leader Keir Starmer, have called for Mr Allott to go while prime minister Boris Johnson said his comments were “completely wrong, and wrong-headed.” He welcomed the apology but didn’t call for his resignation. 

However Ms Williams said despite the apology, and Mr Allott taking back his comments, he should resign. 

South Wales Argus: Rachel Williams has campaigned to change attitudes regarding violence towards womenRachel Williams has campaigned to change attitudes regarding violence towards women

“To me, to think those thoughts and voice those thoughts, it just shows his belief system and is victim blaming. If you hold a senior position, and should be holding the police to account, then you’re actually not fit for the job. 

“I think he’s totally missed the point. Perpetrators of abuse are not some weirdos who don’t come out of the swamp until midnight and commit rapes and murder and go back down the swamp but these are men in our communities, in the workforce, in our schools, and police and in all walks of life.”

Arfon Jones, who held the North Wales police and crime commissioner role for five years before stepping down in May, said he didn’t believe Mr Allott could continue in the role. 

He said the comments sounded like something that would have been said “decades ago” when "women were blamed for becoming victims”. 

Mr Jones, who represented Plaid Cymru, said: “I think we are well advanced beyond that now. Bear in mind that PCCs have been the lead body for introducing the Victim's Code of Practice. I really struggle to see a way back for him, to be honest." 

The letter which has 15 signatories, said Mr Allott’s comments are “‘victim blaming’ from a bygone age” and “wholly inappropriate language” from an elected official expected to “implement the Victim’s Code of Practise.” 

They say in the letter: “Whilst Mr Allot did apologise, it was too little too late and immense damage had been done. In short, we believe that Mr Allott’s comments have brought the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner into disrepute and that he should resign.” 

  • This article originally appeared on our sister site The National.

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