Hereford & Worcester

West Mercia police chief faces second no confidence motion

Bill Longmore, West Mercia's first police and crime commissioner
Image caption Bill Longmore described the latest call for a vote of no confidence as being a case of "sour grapes"

A second Worcestershire council could vote on a motion of no confidence in the police and crime commissioner for West Mercia.

Worcestershire County Council is holding a vote on Thursday and the leader of Bromsgrove District Council is planning a similar move next month.

Councillors are unhappy Bill Longmore went against advice to appoint his former campaign manager as his deputy.

Mr Longmore has described talk of a second vote as a case of "sour grapes".

Roger Hollingworth, Conservative leader of Bromsgrove District Council and the local authority's representative on the police and crime panel, admitted Mr Longmore has not done anything wrong legally in appointing Barry Sheldon.

But he is unhappy with the way the commissioner went about employing Mr Sheldon as his £50,000-a-year deputy.

'Abuse of position'

Mr Hollingworth said: "He came to the panel with a proposal that Barry Sheldon should be made deputy police and crime commissioner and to a man all 17 people on the panel said you've got to go through the proper process.

Image caption Roger Hollingworth said the position of deputy should have been advertised

"We're not criticising Mr Sheldon, but we do believe you should advertise [the position] and interview people and then come back to us.

"He went away and just wrote to us and said he wasn't going to do anything else, he was going to appoint Mr Sheldon.

"You don't do that in public life. That, I believe, is an abuse of his position."

Mr Hollingworth added that he is keen to replicate the vote of no confidence that the county council's ruling Labour party has pushed for.

"We are planning to do our own in February because we feel so strongly about it that we do intend to take it through the chamber here and I'm hoping that the Labour group will support us," he said.

Neither council has the power to force either man to resign, even if the motion is backed by a majority of councillors.

Mr Longmore said he wanted to keep politics out of policing and is keen for the public to vote for a deputy as well as a commissioner at the next elections in 2016.

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