MY opinion about police and crime commissioners should be well known by now. I don’t like them. I think they are a complete and utter waste of public money and politicises a service that should be free from political interference.

This isn’t a party-political opinion. I really don’t care what colour rosette the candidates wore or which party they represent. The simple fact is we used to have a perfectly workable – and much cheaper – system of holding our chief constable to account with the old cross-party police committees.

Blame the coalition government for this. It was a bright idea of David Cameron and Nick Clegg to ‘make the police more accountable to the people’ by introducing police and crime commissioners.

I personally don’t recall much evidence of police and crime commissioners being accountable to me or anyone else during their terms of office.

You only have to look back at some of the controversies that previous Cheshire PCC – Labour’s David Keane – found himself enmeshed in during his term in office.

One that springs to mind was Keane’s appointment of his deputy PCC, which was forensically commented on, criticised, ridiculed and even made the pages of national newspapers.

The deputy’s personal and professional life were publicly dissected in minute detail for all to see and comment on. It was the sort of scrutiny that few would have been able to withstand.

So fast forward to this week and following the elections in May, we now have Tory John Dwyer as our PCC. And lo and behold he has appointed a deputy, David McNeilage, who started his new role on Monday.

So where’s the scrutiny? Where’s the public dissection of his life and career? Where’s the forensic examination of his every waking moment?

Who voted for Mr McNeilage? Where was the job advert posted?

In reality, his appointment went through ‘on the nod’ at the Cheshire Police and Crime Panel’s confirmation hearing. Don’t forget, it’s the panel’s job to scrutinise the PCC’s decisions so on the face of it, it looks very much like it is giving PCC Dwyer a much easier ride than his predecessor got.

What do we know about McNeilage? Well, we know only what the PCC wants us to know, given the vague details in the press release that announced his appointment.

We can assume Mr McNeilage is a friend of the new PCC because he was his campaign manager during the election campaign.

But other than that, all we have to go on is the word of PCC Dwyer who said: “David worked very closely with me during my election campaign and has a sound knowledge of the diverse communities across Cheshire and also its diverse geographic, social and economic nature.

“He has knowledge and an understanding of the operation of the police service and the criminal justice system. Furthermore, his knowledge of the process of government is highlighted by his time working in Parliament for a local MP.”

Now it may well be that all the evidence to support these assertions was provided to the police and crime panel, but they certainly haven’t been made public.

So I would ask a few questions here. I’ll start with where is Mr McNeilage from? What jobs has he done in the past? Where did he gain his ‘sound knowledge of the diverse communities across Cheshire’? Where did he gain his ‘knowledge and understanding of the police service and the criminal justice system’?

We do know (because Mr Dwyer has told us) that Mr McNeilage has worked in Parliament for an MP. But what did he do for this MP and which MP was it?

Now you may think I am being a little intrusive here and we should just trust the word and judgement of the police and crime commissioner. But if you just think back to the level of scrutiny the previous Labour deputy PCC faced when she was appointed, I don’t think I’m being intrusive at all.

I did notice there was no mention of how much the new appointee will be paid, but for the record. Mr McNeilage will be paid £38,250 a year plus expenses, exactly 50 per cent of the £76,500 Mr Dwyer is paid as PCC.