NICOLA Sturgeon has led the condemnation of a Tory police commissioner who "openly blamed" Sarah Everard for her own murder.

Everard was murdered on February 28 by officer Wayne Couzens, after he showed her his police ID, handcuffed her, and falsely “arrested” her for breaching Covid lockdown legislation.

Speaking on BBC Radio York, Conservative North Yorkshire police commissioner Philip Allott said that Everard should have been aware that what Couzens was claiming she was guilty of was not an arrestable offence.

He went on: "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.

"Perhaps women need to consider in terms of the legal process, to just learn a bit about that legal process.”

Allott, who won the commissioner role in the elections held in May, has been widely condemned for the remarks.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hit out at the “appalling” comments.

She went on: “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.”

Sturgeon also shared a tweet from a Twitter account dedicated to calling out “everyday sexism”. This account had written: “Just when you think the absurdity of victim blaming could not possibly go any further, here is a Police Commissioner openly blaming Sarah Everard for what happened to her.”

Legal commentator David Allen Green said: "There is not a competent lawyer in the country that would have advised Sarah Everard to resist arrest by a police officer with a warrant card."

He added: "'You should challenge a police officer seeking to arrest you!'

"'Be more streetwise about the law!' - and those from BAME backgrounds, from the inner cities, from Northern Ireland, from mining communities, all shake their heads, for they have seen what then would happen before."

Labour MP Louise Haigh wrote: “Jaw-dropping stuff from a man who is meant to be responsible for holding the police to account.”

The youth and student wing of the Liberal Democrats added: “An absolute disgrace. Women shouldn't have to worry about this - much less have the blame pinned on them.”

Writing on Twitter in response to the backlash, Allott said: “Nobody is blaming the victim. What I am saying is that we need to inform women far better of their rights, something I intend to action here in North Yorkshire ASAP."

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Allott later deleted that post, and issued another apologising and retracting his comments.

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.”

Labour MP Barbara Keeley responded: "How can the women of North Yorkshire have any confidence in the Police if you think like that about a murder victim #FixTheSystemNotTheWomen. You should resign."

Allott’s is one of several comments to come from high-ranking police in the past few days to be met with stern backlash.

The Metropolitan Police were condmened earlier in the week after issuing guidance saying that any women who thought they may be in danger from a police officer, as Everard was, should “wave a bus down”.