West Mercia Police chief hits back in cronyism row

WORCESTERSHIRE'S PCC has hit back in a row over the controversial appointment of his campaign manager as his deputy.

Independent candidate Bill Longmore, who was elected to head West Mercia Police in November, is facing a no confidence motion at a meeting of Worcestershire County Council on Thursday January 17.

The council is complaining Mr Longmore gave his election campaign manager, Barrie Sheldon, the £50,000 per year job without a transparent selection process. Mr Sheldon is also facing a no confidence vote.

In an open letter to Worcestershire County Council chief executive, Trish Haines, Mr Longmore said: "I totally refute the allegation which some have made that my choice of Mr Sheldon was because of long held friendship and not based on merit. As a university lecturer in policing studies Mr Sheldon has a wealth of knowledge and skills of great use in this role.

"It was because of those skills I asked him to assist in my election campaign. I had no association with Mr Sheldon before that time save that some 28 years ago he was a junior officer in the same police force."

West Merca's Police and Crime Panel have labelled the appointment cronyism and Mr Longmore accepted in his letter the panel would have proffered a more open process but he insisted the appointment is both lawful and proper.

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