Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce withdraws offer for Philip Allott to speak at meeting after Sarah Everard comments

Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce has withdrawn an offer to North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Allott to speak at its meeting next month.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 2:17 pm

Mr Allott said in an interview on Friday that Ms Everard, 33, should not have submitted to her false arrest by serving Met police officer Wayne Couzens.

Couzens used his warrant card to falsely arrest Ms Everard. He then kidnapped, raped and murdered her.

Mr Allott also said women should be “streetwise” and learn their rights around arrests in the wake of Couzens’ crimes, which earlier this week saw him sentenced to life in prison.

Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce has withdrawn an offer to North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Allott to speak at its meeting next month.

Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce CEO David Simister said: “I can confirm that Mr Allott had been invited to speak at our November meeting, but following consultation with the Chamber’s Management Group over the weekend, this offer was withdrawn on Monday morning.

“Instead, we have invited the team behind delivering the £10.9m Harrogate Station Gateway Project to present the next stage of the consultation process, which includes revised plans and detailed drawings.

“Due to the importance of this subject, we will be making this an open meeting to all town centre businesses, as we want them to fully appreciate the implications the scheme will have on them and their customers.

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Since making the remarks in a BBC radio interview, Mr Allott has apologised.

In a statement, he said: “I would like to reiterate my heartfelt apology for my comments on BBC Radio York on Friday 1 October, which I realise were both misconceived and insensitive and have caused upset and distress. I have withdrawn the remarks.

"I was elected to this role to help keep our communities safe. I have made addressing violence against women and girls across North Yorkshire and the City of York one of the key priorities in my forthcoming Police & Crime Plan. I hope that all those reading this statement will accept my apology and the commitment I have given to my own learning.”

Mr Allott also outlined the work already being done, including more than 1,000 North Yorkshire Police officers undertaking the ‘domestic abuse matters’ training programme in 2021 and the creation of 100 domestic abuse champions.