POLICE and crime commissioner Bill Longmore has survived a ‘no confidence’ motion at Worcestershire County Council - but was subject to widespread criticism.
West Mercia Police’s first ever elected boss was likened to “Corporal Jones” from the BBC sitcom Dad’s Army during angry clashes at County Hall.
But the Labour Party’s motion was widely rejected as not a single Conservative or Liberal Democrat councillor voted for it - with most blaming the Government for “sloppy” legislation surrounding PCCs.
Mr Longmore has been criticised for appointing fellow police colleague and election campaign manager Barrie Sheldon as his £50,000 deputy without a proper recruitment process.
He ignored the advice of the watchdog-style police and crime panel to go ahead with the move, which led for calls for him to resign during a full council meeting today.
Councillor Alan Amos, deputy leader of the county’s Labour group, said: “This is not a Labour motion, it’s a people of Worcestershire motion.
“He is solely responsible for this mess, and took no notice of the panel’s advice whatsoever in carrying on regardless - if his deputy is that brilliant why not advertise the job and go through a professional procedure.
“It’s a blatant, rampant self-serving act of cronyism, the police should be run professionally, it should not be jobs for the boys.”
Other politicians said the Government was to blame for allowing PCCs to make appointments without a competitive process.
Councillor Sue Askin, a Liberal Democrat, said: “It is the legislation that is wrong, and it is the legislation we should be attacking.”
The leader of the authority, Conservative Councillor Adrian Hardman said he was “appalled” by Mr Longmore’s actions but refused to vote for the motion.
“I saw it as a reward for his election campaign manager for helping him, and it’s true to say he has got off to a terrible start,” he said.
“But he’s done nothing illegal, and other Conservative and Labour PCCs across the country have done the same things - you have to look at the legislation.”
Councillor Richard Udall, from the Labour group, said Mr Longmore “will forever be tarnished by his bad judgement”, liking him to “Corporal Jones from Dad’s Army, screaming don’t panic”, but Tory Councillor John Smith said the council chamber was witnessing “character assassination” and called the attacks “disgusting”.
When the motion went to a vote, all four Labour politicians voted for it but 27 voted against and 18 abstained.
After the meeting Coun Amos said "the people of Worcestershire will not be happy" with those who voted against it.
The motion, if carried, would not have forced Mr Longmore or Mr Sheldon to resign.
Mr Longmore has called the furore "sour grapes" and has asked people to judge him in three-and-a-half years time.