New West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner vows to stop privatisation

Dudley News: Bob Jones Bob Jones

THE new West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner has vowed to stop plans to privatise parts of the force.

Labour’s Bob Jones, the former chairman of the West Midlands Police Authority, made the pledge after securing the top £100,000 a year job.

Long-serving Wolverhampton based councillor Mr Jones beat nearest rival Matt Bennett (Conservative) into second place following last Thursday’s election which recorded a turnout across the region of just 12.31 per cent.

Commissioner Jones secured 117,388 first and second preference votes, compared with 55,685 for Matt Bennett.

Due to take up his role officially today(Thursday) - Mr Jones said his first decision as commissioner would be to “end the business partnership for the police privatisation process”.

He added: “I believe it is absolutely essential that everyone in the West Midlands has confidence that any decision taken by professional police officers and staff is taken solely in the interests of justice not in the interest of private managers accountable to private shareholders.”

Mr Jones, who will be responsible for setting the area’s policing priorities for the next five years and managing the police budget, has also vowed to call a ‘victim summit’ to find out how the police and other agencies can better support victims of crime.

He has also pledged to work hard to ensure the force gets “a fair deal for funding” to help save jobs and promote safer streets. He said: “It is ridiculous that we are taking three times the cuts of leafy Surrey. It is absolutely essential that we do get a better deal.”

Mr Jones also promised to “build on the achievements of West Midlands Police and West Midlands Police Authority” and said he was “honoured” to become the region’s first elected police boss.

However during his acceptance speech he branded the new post “an unnecessary and expensive change - one that’s been badly implemented and also appallingly publicised” - adding: “I think that’s the reason many of our electors decided to not vote with their feet.”

The turnout for the election is believed to be the lowest in history.

The newly-elected commissioner was this week due to discuss the future of policing in the area with the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, Chris Sims.

Mr Sims said: “We are entering a new era for policing governance and I am confident we will be able to build on recent successes.”

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