THE region's police and crime commissioner Bill Longmore has appointed Barrie Sheldon as his deputy, defying public opinion.

In the last few minutes Mr Longmore has published a statement saying his former election campaign publicity manager's role will be "absolutely necessary" to help him.

The move comes despite fierce criticism from both the public and politicians, who have called it "cronyism". More than 90 per cent of readers polled on this website agreed.

The Police and Crime Panel, a watchdog-style body, also recommended he scrapped the appointment.

Mr Longmore first met his assistant at Staffordshire Police, and they are both former police officers.

For more on this story, see the Worcester News tomorrow.