Nicola Sturgeon has condemned the comments of a police chief in England who said that women “need to be streetwise” about the power of officers to make an arrest following the case of Sarah Everard.
Wayne Couzens kidnapped, raped and murdered Ms Everard as she walked home after meeting a friend in London in March.
During his sentencing at the Old Bailey this week, it emerged that he had used his warrant card and handcuffs, using Covid lockdown rules to make a false arrest.
Speaking on BBC Radio York, North Yorkshire commissioner Philip Allott suggested that women should learn about the legal process for an arrest being made.
“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”.
His remarks were widely criticised, with calls for him to resign.
In a Tweet published on Friday afternoon, Allott issued an apology for the remarks.
He said: “I would like to wholeheartedly apologise for my comments on BBC radio York earlier today, which I realise have been insensitive and wish to retract them in full.”
On Twitter, Scotland’s First Minister described the comments as “appalling”.
She wrote: “These comments are appalling. It’s not up to women to fix this. It’s not us who need to change.
“The problem is male violence, not women’s ‘failure’ to find ever more inventive ways to protect ourselves against it.
“For change to happen, this needs to be accepted by everyone.”
Police and UK Government ministers in England were earlier criticised over advice that women should flag down a bus if they have concerns when stopped by an officer.
Patsy Stevenson, who was arrested at a vigil for Ms Everard in the days following her murder, said that the advice is “almost laughable if it wasn’t so disgusting”.
On Thursday, Couzens was handed a whole life sentence, meaning that he will die behind bars.
Rape Crisis Scotland
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- Mobile: 07527 410 027
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