A NEW deputy police and crime commissioner has been unveiled - on a £40,000 salary for a part-time role.

Worcestershire Tory Councillor Tracey Onslow has landed the job, with PCC John Campion - a Conservative politician himself - denying the appointment is "nepotism".

The duo who will now lead West Mercia Police are both well-known Tories in the Wyre Forest, both sitting on the district council.

Councillor Onslow's appointment was ratified during a meeting of the police and crime panel at County Hall, where one Labour figure raised concern about her finding time to "sleep" given her demanding schedule.

Councillor Lynn Denham, a Worcester City Council cabinet member, also raised suggestions that the PCC had hand picked a Tory assistant.

The criticism was denied by Mr Campion, who told the panel the assistant role was openly advertised, with six shortlisted candidates interviewed and assessed by an independent panel he did not sit on, but observed.

He then chose Councillor Onslow himself from three final hopefuls under final interviews which were monitored independently.

Four years ago, previous PCC Bill Longmore made fellow ex-copper Barrie Sheldon his £50,000 deputy without any competitive process taking place, leading to furious criticism over "cronyism" which dogged his time in office.

Mr Campion has defended his own appointment, saying: "The 'nepotism' part, whilst it may be a conclusion, I'd say that would be short sighted - it has no foundation because ultimately I was bound by whoever the interviewing panel sent to me.

"The irony is that all the candidates sent to me, I knew one way or the other."

He added: "I'm absolutely confident that I'm able to sit here and say I committed to an open, fair and transparent process".

He also told the police and crime panel he was "critical of the way the last PCC sought his deputy", saying the irony was that Mr Longmore was "lucky" to have found someone who did a good job.

"I'd suggest the lack of any advertising, of any due process meant it was by luck more than judgement," he said.

Councillor Onslow's £40,000 salary requires her to work four days a week, a £10,000 saving on Mr Sheldon, but he was full-time.

Mr Campion said he wanted a part-time number two, "not because I'm an ego-maniac" but because he sees the PCC as the main point of public contact.

During the panel meeting, Councillor Denham said: "You've described this as a transparent process, I'm not sure it's quite as transparent as you think or the public-at-large may think."

She accused him of "looking at the candidates and working out who you know and who's in your network", to which he said: "I take exception and refute that allegation."

Councillor Denham also said the new deputy was a current caseworker for MP Mark Garnier, a cabinet member on Wyre Forest District Council and runs a property firm, asking her how she would find time to sleep.

Councillor Onslow revealed she's giving up the role helping Mr Garnier, which is 27 hours a week.