North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Philip Allott has resigned.
A petition calling for Mr Allott to resign had reached more than 10,000 signatures after his controversial comments about the murder of Sarah Everard.
Mr Allott claimed that Sarah should “never have submitted to arrest” before she was raped and killed by police officer Wayne Couzens.
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.”
Commenting on the resignation, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough Andrew Jones said:
“People who know me are aware it is not my style to rush to knee-jerk reactions or engage in megaphone politics. That is true when it comes to Philip Allott’s continuation as Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner. I have given Philip the space and time to see if he can rebuild trust and confidence in himself. But as I have done so I have only observed his ability to rebuild that trust diminishing.
“In resigning, Philip has done the right thing. Some may say he left it too long to reach that conclusion.
“But following events over the past few days he now knows that it was impossible to erase the comments he made on Radio York. He now realises that no amount of apologies are going to enable him to restore the position and enable him to concentrate on supporting victims effectively.
“He could have simply ignored the calls for him to go; no one could have removed him. But Philip has put the office he held ahead of his personal situation and protected the reputation of and confidence in that office by relinquishing it. I hope too he has also made it easier for victims to be heard by ensuring that, once again, they become the focus of our attention.
“Now he has resigned my hope is that we can move on as a county to think again about how we support victims and how we change the culture that leads to violence against women and girls. One resignation does not achieve that. There is much to do to make it happen. That must be our focus now.”