Michael Sheen joins calls for police boss to quit amid accusations of victim blaming
Welsh actor Michael Sheen has joined a chorus of voices criticising a Yorkshire police boss for victim blaming, after he suggested that women should be more streetwise about what they can be arrested for.
North Yorkshire Police Federation Crime Commissioner Philip Allot sparked rage when he suggested that women should clue themselves up on what was an indictable offence, and that Sarah Everard should never have submitted to arrest.
His comments followed the sentencing of Ms Everard’s murderer this week, during which it was revealed that her horrific ordeal began by being tricked into a false arrest by a police officer carrying a warrant card and handcuffs.
The former police officer who snatched Ms Everard from a busy London street in March was handed a whole life sentence, the first of its kind for a crime committed by a serving officer.
Hastily retracting his comments came too late for furious critics, including Michael Sheen, who called for his sacking for his insensitivity.
Sheen was unequivocal in his message to Allott, who has tweeted a “wholehearted apology” for his comments, saying: “If you meant them – YOU SHOULD BE FIRED. If you didn’t mean them then your judgement is severely flawed – and YOU SHOULD BE FIRED. If it took you that long to realise you were ‘insensitive’ then your reaction time is appalling – and YOU SHOULD BE FIRED. #FirePhilipAllott”
If you meant them – YOU SHOULD BE FIRED. If you didn’t mean them then your judgement is severely flawed – and YOU SHOULD BE FIRED. If it took you that long to realise you were ‘insensitive’ then your reaction time is appalling – and YOU SHOULD BE FIRED. #FirePhilipAllott https://t.co/1y9ZJSMK9n
— michael sheen 💙 (@michaelsheen) October 1, 2021
Conservative Mr Allott was speaking on BBC Radio York when he said “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”.
After the furious outcry on social media, he tweeted “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.”
The police have come under fierce criticism this week following the sentencing of Wayne Couzens, for suggestions that women “runaway”, or “wave down a bus” or “refuse to submit” if a police officer apprehends them, putting the onus on women to protect themselves rather than suggesting ways of tackling the perpetrators.