BELEAGUERED crime commissioner Philip Allott has come under fire from his predecessor who asks how women and girls can ever believe him after his comments about the appalling murder, rape and abduction of Sarah Everard.

Julia Mulligan, was Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire for nine years before the election of Philip Allott in May.

She has criticised his comments that the metropolitan police officer sentenced to life after killing Sarah was a ‘bad apple’ and that women should be 'streetwise.'

She said: "His instinct was not to say the problem was with men attacking women, but that women should have a better understanding of the law. Philip Allott’s words reveal a total absence of understanding of male violence against women and girls.

"That is bad enough. But let us also not forget that York was Sarah’s hometown. Her family were mourning her with some of the most compelling victim statements I have ever read. They may have been listening to that interview. How dare someone in that position, a position of power, a position of trust, suggest that Sarah was in any way to blame.

"We need men to call out other men which is why North Yorkshire’s Commissioner’s words were so troubling. He has retracted what he said but he cannot erase them. He says he accepts he needs to learn and reflect deeply. But surely if he is only thinking that now, it is far too late. How can women and girls across North Yorkshire ever believe him, when he may actually be thinking something very different."

Ms Mulligan who revealed to the public two years ago that she was raped as a 15 year old wrote in an article in the Yorkshire Post newspaper that she was writing about Mr Allott's comments in her own personal capacity as a woman, as a victim and as a survivor of serious sexual violence.

She said concrete actions needs to be taken to restore trust in the police. Ms Mulligan is concerned that the Police and Crime Panel which is holding a meeting on Thursday to quiz Philip Allott is holding their meeting online rather than in public.

She added: "Taking refuge behind a screen is cheap, cowardly and hardly shows a willingness to reflect and learn. We are judged through our actions and our words. They matter because they influence what we do and what others do in our name. Once said they cannot be taken back."