West Midlands PCC election: Labour win

Bob Jones Bob Jones has served as a Wolverhampton city councillor since 1980

Labour's Bob Jones has won the election for the West Midlands' first police and crime commissioner (PCC).

Mr Jones led Conservative candidate Matt Bennett by more than 55,000 votes going into the second round of counting in Birmingham and Coventry.

Five other candidates were eliminated after the first round.

Mr Jones is due to take over from the police authority on 22 November and will be responsible for holding the UK's second largest force to account.

On a £100,000 salary, he is expected to set policing priorities and work with the chief constable to allocate the £546m budget.

Under the supplementary system, Mr Jones sealed victory with 117,388 votes, compared with 55,685 for Mr Bennett.

Analysis

Bob Jones, a keen real ale enthusiast, will be toasting his victory with beer not champagne.

A police authority veteran, he knows about budgets, protocols and our complicated policing systems. So he will not be daunted by the task ahead.

He's promising to hit the ground running, taking the reins next Thursday and calling for a "victims' summit".

But he could find himself in conflict with Chief Constable Chris Sims on how to make the savings demanded by the government.

Both men are skilled professionals and the handshakes will be on show for the cameras but they both have differing ideas.

Bob Jones will immediately call a halt to spending on the chief's pet project, the Business Partnering scheme. Mr Jones has dubbed it "police privatisation", while the chief calls it "transforming the way the police deliver their services".

The new crime commissioner is happy for private companies to help with technology but no core policing or staff will be transferred to the private sector.

Ballots for candidates eliminated after the first round were recounted to allocate those voters' second choices.

Across the West Midlands police area, 12% of those eligible to vote turned out, with 7,063 spoilt ballots. The turnout figure was lowest in Coventry at 10.18%.

Deputy police area returning officer Robert Connelly said the figures in the Walsall and Solihull council areas were 12.5%, 12.8% in Birmingham and Wolverhampton and 12.18% in Sandwell.

Mr Jones said: "I believe I do have a mandate, albeit on that limited vote to end the privatisation proposals in the West Midlands, to protect police community support officers and to fight for a fairer deal."

With a recruitment freeze in place and budget cuts of £125m over the next four years, Mr Jones will take up the post during one of the toughest periods in the force's recent history.

The West Midlands police force area includes Birmingham, Solihull, the Black Country and Coventry.

Mr Jones, a Wolverhampton city councillor, has served the Blakenhall Ward since 1980 and previously said he had campaigned against crime and anti-social behaviour throughout his political career.

He has also sat on the West Midlands Police Authority since 1985, including acting as its chairman, and also on the National Association of Police Authorities.

In 2010 he was awarded a CBE for services to policing.

Mr Jones has pledged to introduce community-led local policing boards and said he would use the role to "highlight the appalling financial settlement" the police force has received from the government.

West Midlands Police Chief Constable Chris Sims congratulated Mr Jones on his election and said the pair would be meeting over the coming days.

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

Patrick Burns, the BBC political editor in the West Midlands, said the result of four district counts showed the "near-collapse" of the Liberal Democrat vote, even in MP Lorely Burt's Solihull ward, where the party's share of the vote dropped from 43% at the last general election to 3.4%.

In Coventry, the Liberal Democrat candidate, Ayoub Khan, polled just 783 votes, even failing to match the number of spoilt ballot papers (884).

BBC WM political reporter Elizabeth Glinka said officials at the Birmingham count said the number of spoilt ballots was "not out of the ordinary" and were in line with what would normally be expected at other elections.

After the first round of counting Bill Etheridge (UKIP), Cath Hannon (Independent), Ayoub Khan (Liberal Democrat), Mike Rumble (Independent) and Bishop Derek Webley (Independent) were eliminated.

WEST MIDLANDS: Bob Jones (Labour) elected

Turnout does not include spoilt ballots

Turnout: 238,384 (12.0%)

Second round

Candidate

Party

Final total

%

Status

Bob Jones

Labour

117,388

67.8

Elected

Matt Bennett

Conservative

55,685

32.2

First round

Candidate

Party

1st pref

%

2nd pref

Bob Jones

Labour

100,130

42

17,258

Matt Bennett

Conservative

44,130

18.5

11,555

Cath Hannon

Independent

30,778

12.9

Bill Etheridge

UKIP

17,563

7.4

Derek Webley

Independent

17,488

7.3

Ayoub Khan

Liberal Democrat

15,413

6.5

Mike Rumble

Independent

12,882

5.4

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