BILL Longmore is being urged to start being more open with the media after refusing to take calls from the Worcester News since he was elected.
Before West Mercia’s new police and crime commissioner was elected, he was available on his mobile phone seven-days-a-week.
After winning the election the Worcester News was told a new ‘protocol’ is in place whereby the media must go through one of two taxpayer-funded press departments to contact him.
One is West Mercia Police, which has a press officer working on all PCC enquiries. The other is Shropshire Council’s media team.
Last week a series of calls to Mr Longmore’s phone went unanswered, until Tuesday.
When it was made clear the Worcester News was looking to speak to him, the person who answered responded by saying he was busy.
Yesterday morning, when the Worcester News again asked to talk to him, we were told “he won’t be doing that” as he had a busy day of meetings.
The Worcester News has had to rely on press releases sent out by his media team – but requests for an interview via that route have been unsuccessful.
We were able to surprise Mr Longmore by going to see him face-to-face when he made a trip to the University of Worcester on Monday, where he backed an anti-domestic violence campaign.
As soon as we asked a question over his deputy the interview was stopped, and we were told Mr Longmore would not be drawn on the topic.
In contrast to his refusal to talk to the Worcester News, Mr Longmore gave an interview on radio yesterday, where he blamed a “small minority” of people deliberately attacking him for political reasons.
Mid-Worcestershire Peter Luff said: “I think his attitude to the media is very worrying. He should be open to scrutiny.”
Councillor Adrian Hardman, the leader of Worcestershire County Council, said: “Saying nothing will not do – he ought to talk.”