TODAY your Worcester News urges Bill Longmore to do the right thing – and think again about the way he appoints a deputy police and crime commissioner.

West Mercia Police’s new elected boss wants to give his old police colleague and campaign manager a role as his £50,000 deputy, causing widespread uproar.

This newspaper is asking him to halt the appointment of Barrie Sheldon and only employ a number two after an open, transparent process.

By that, we mean by advertising the post and setting up an independent panel to make a recommendation on who is the best person, and justify why a deputy is needed.

Worcester News editor Peter John said: “If the new PCCs are convinced they know who is the best person for the job, then surely they have nothing to fear from an open and fair selection process. What they have to gain is a public endorsement.”

Leading figures across Worcestershire have come out in support of the move – and have insisted Mr Longmore change tack.

Councillor Fran Oborski, a Liberal member at Worcestershire County Council, said: “He should draw up a job description and go through a full, transparent process if he wants a deputy. I voted for him, but now I wished I hadn’t – if any politician in Worcestershire had done this, we’d be accused of corruption in public office.

“We’d be hounded out if we tried it. It’s just wrong – I absolutely back this campaign wholeheartedly.”

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin said also said she backed the campaign “all the way, as well as Worcester Robin Walker and Mid-Worcestershire MP Peter Luff.

Members of the Police and Crime Panel, which has recommended Mr Longmore scrap the appointment, are also backing it.

Councillor John Campion said: “I do agree with the campaign – when we were appointed to thepanel it was advertised to all of us and we had to go through an open, transparent process. There were interviews and personal specifications and everything was traced back on a principle of fairness.

“If he wants a deputy they should be appointed on merit. It should not be jobs for the boys when you’re in public office.”

Councillor Adrian Hardman, who leads Worcestershire County Council and also sits on the panel, said: “You shouldn’t have someone who is your mate from 20-odd years ago. If he went for someone from Worcestershire or Herefordshire and did it through an open process, he’d get a bit of traction from it, but that hasn’t happened.”

Councillor Paul Middlebrough, who leads Wychavon District Council and chairs the panel, said: “I have no doubts nobody will refuse to back this campaign. As chairman of the panel, I back it fully.”

Coun Middlebrough said a report from the panel, which met last Wednesday and recommends Mr Longmore does not appoint Mr Sheldon as his number two, should be with him by Monday.

A Home Office spokesman said: “PCCs appoint their deputies in an open and transparent way. This includes a public confirmation hearing and recommendation by the Police and Crime Panel. But the decision of who to appoint as a deputy is a matter for the PCC.”


“I announced my proposal to appoint Barrie Sheldon as deputy PCC for West Mercia to the Police and Crime Panel within a week of taking up my post.

“On Wednesday, December 5, I met with the panel to answer their questions regarding his appointment. The panel is required by law to issue a report outlining their recommendation as to whether Barrie should be appointed as deputy.

“I am disappointed that I have not yet received their report and I urge the panel to send it to me as a matter of urgency. I am unable, by law, to confirm the appointment of a deputy PCC until I have considered their report.

“I am aware the appointment of deputy PCCs is a controversial issue nationally but I have no doubt that one is vital to assist me to discharge the major responsibilities that the Government has set, as do a considerable number of other PCCs.

“These responsibilities, to be achieved in a very short space of time, include producing the policing plan and working with the chief constable to set the precept.

“Barrie was a university lecturer in policing, providing police training services at Teeside University.

“He had been a junior colleague of mine in the police force over 30 years ago, but for some 28 years I have had no dealings with him.

“It was only around six months ago that I contacted him to assist in my election campaign.

“I was extremely impressed with the job that he did and subsequently invited him to act as my deputy. Also, like me, he is independent from any political affiliation.

“I continue to have every confidence that Barrie’s expertise will be vital as we move forward and start to seek people’s views and address their concerns about policing in their area.

“West Mercia is a huge area and there is simply no way I could do justice to the one million plus people right across the counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire working on my own.

“I would reassure residents of West Mercia that I would not make this appointment if I did not feel it was absolutely necessary to ensure I do the best job possible during my time in office.”