Independent PR consultant Sofia Cann today defended the role of the police after the resignation of North Yorkshire crime commissioner Philip Allott over comments about Sarah Everard’s murder.
In an interview at Leeds Trinity University’s Journalism and Media Week, Ms Cann – who herself is a volunteer police officer – said: “With policing, every little thing is scrutinised.
“They have a position of power, so they should be called out if they do wrong, but we need to treat them in a way to people that commit similar crimes.”
Despite this, Ms Cann condemned former North Yorkshire police, fire and crime commissioner Philip Allott. Mr Allott resigned after criticism was made over his comments after the Sarah Everard case, where he urged women to be “streetwise” about lone officers approaching them late at night.
“It was the right decision because things like that are going to continue to harm the reputation of police officers across the UK,” she said.
In a study done by the Office for National Statistics, one in four people in West Yorkshire did not have overall confidence in their local police force.
The police have faced continuous criticism in the aftermath of Black Lives Matter, Sarah Everard’s murder and a lack of action over riotous England fans breaking into Wembley stadium during the England vs Italy Euro final.
Ms Cann said: “We don’t see the police as much; people think that they are sat behind their desk or driving in their car when they are actually doing important work.”
Ms Cann talked about the community outreach programmes that police in Yorkshire are doing to maintain public trust. This includes sending out a female police officer to speak to minorities and other women about their concerns and what can be addressed within the force.
She also spoke about the police inviting in an independent panel that picks crime numbers out of a hat and analyses random cases in order to give advice and scrutiny.
“This panel will recommend what was done well and what might have been a bit heavy-handed. The police involved will sit and listen, they are not there to defend.”
Sofia Cann, who runs her own business as Cann Communications, spoke about her career and her work with the police to students at Leeds Trinity University as part of Journalism and Media Week.
Ms Cann also plays a large role within the Yorkshire arts community through her work. She has recently publicised a film that was filmed and produced in Yorkshire, Coal in their Veins, which was the winner of the LA Shorts and the Indo-French International Film Festival.