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I would also have had a deputy, says runner-up
3:30pm Friday 4th January 2013 in News
THE Conservatives’ defeated police and crime commissioner candidate has admitted he would have appointed a deputy too – as well as up to three other “directors”.
Mr Blackshaw also said he would have appointed three “non-executive” directors across the West Mercia Police force area on around £6,000 each to do some of the legwork in key areas like Worcester.
But the organic fruit farmer, who has refused to rule out standing again in 2016, insisted his victorious rival Bill Longmore made the wrong choice by appointing a fellow ex-policeman as his deputy. “Before the election I had 165 meetings over two months and it was strongly suggested to me that if I wanted a deputy, it should not be an ex-copper,” he said.
“I am not against a deputy because this is the most senior public sector role across the three counties, handling a budget of over £200 million and with more than 4,000 staff, so it’s a very big job.
“But the feedback I was getting is that you need people with finance and corporate experience, and if I wanted a deputy, I needed someone who would compliment my skills. “Eighty-five per cent of the job is not about front line policing, and the other 15 per cent is very much down to the chief constable anyway, you can’t meddle, so I do think he got the appointment wrong, even if I would have had a deputy myself.”
He said his three directors would have been assigned geographical areas of West Mercia, one for Shropshire, one for Telford and Wrekin, and one for Worcestershire and Herefordshire, with the brief to act as “lighting rods”, flagging up specific local concerns and getting feedback from communities.
Mr Blackshaw also admitted he was “very disappointed” to have lost November’s election, but added he was prepared to “wait and see” before considering standing again in four years time.
Mr Longmore, who stood as an independent candidate, is a former Staffordshire Police officer and appointed Mr Sheldon as his deputy after he managed his election campaign.
It came despite the Police and Crime Panel, a watchdog-style body, recommending it not go ahead amid concerns the duo were old police officers together, and that there was no open, transparent appointment process or job description.
Mr Sheldon has already defended his role, urging people to judge them on results in the years to come.
“I intend to prove people wrong,” he said.
Simon Murphy, Labour’s defeated candidate, would also have appointed a deputy, although like Mr Blackshaw he did not reveal who it might be.
Politicians in Worcester-shire have attacked the Home Office for “sloppy” legislation which led to the furore over deputies.