THE leader of Worcestershire County Council has started a legal probe over whether the region’s new deputy police and crime commissioner is entitled to a pension.
Councillor Adrian Hardman said he believes it is “wrong” that Barrie Sheldon should be able to draw a taxpayer-funded pension.
The move entitles Mr Sheldon to a £50,000 salary and a pension.
Yesterday, he accepted the job, but his office said he is undecided over whether or not to take the perk.
Coun Hardman acts an adviser to the £1 billion Worcestershire County Council pension fund, which manages pensions of public sector workers.
That includes police administration staff, meaning it would take on Mr Sheldon’s pension if he accepts it.
Coun Hardman said: “I don’t think he should be able to offer him a place on the local government pension scheme. I am checking out the legal position to see if I can stop that going ahead. It remains my view that this is wrong.”
Mr Longmore faced more criticism yesterday from leading figures in Worcestershire.
It has also emerged that the police and crime panel (PCP) a watchdog-style body which recommended he scrap the appointment, offered Mr Longmore the chance to employ Mr Sheldon for an initial 12-month period, followed by a review, but even that was rejected.
Robin Walker, Worcester’s MP, said: “This is not an issue only politicians are concerned with, it’s an issue of widespread public concern.
“When you are elected to a position it is important you listen to the public and respond to them.”
Coun John Campion, a PCP member, said: “When he was going for election he was meant to be a ‘man of the people’, and he said he would listen to public opinion, but this is not listening.
“It sets an interesting precedent for all PCCs.
“Our duty is getting the best deal for the electorate.
“I don’t believe giving £50,000 a year to his campaign manager is the best deal.”
The duo are former colleagues at Staffordshire Police, where Mr Sheldon, aged 57, retired from in 2004 after reaching the rank of detective inspector.
The PCP recommended he scrap the appointment on the grounds it is not “open and transparent”, and that the deputy’s role is unclear.
In an interview with local radio yesterday, Mr Longmore said his old police colleague was “the best man for the job”, claiming only a “small minority” of people were against it.
“He’s got everything that I see is needed for a deputy commissioner,” he said.
He also said political parties are conspiring against him because he defeated them last month.