Region's Police Commissioner looks to scrap privatisation

By <b>Byline</b> Thursday 22 November 2012 Updated: 26/11 09:54

NEW POLICE Commissioner Bob Jones will make scrapping police privatisation his first job today (Thursday).

He was expected to make a statement this morning outlining his plan to axe any further moves towards a partnership between West Midlands Police and private sector.

Mr Jones, who officially starts the four-year term today, told the Observer he held four meetings in four days with chief constable Chris Sims since winning Thursday's election.

Around £5 million is believed to have spent since police chiefs announced the idea of linking some services with businesses earlier this year.

And Mr Jones said: "I need to make sure no more money is wasted on it.

"Decisions need to be made from day one - budgets need to be set and finances need to be sorted.

"I've been given a job to do which I will do with humility and have a responsibility to do it to the best of my ability.

"If anyone else like the government said I didn't have a mandate I'd not take any notice and ask 'what's your majority?'."

Chief Con Sims said policing had entered a new era and he was confident the pair would be able to build on the force's recent successes.

Mr Jones emerged as the region's first Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) on Friday after easily beating six other candidates in the region.

He will earn £100,000 a year in the role.

The Wolverhampton councillor, who will step down from that role, received 11,100 votes in Coventry and 117,388 region-wide, way ahead of second-placed Conservative candidate Matt Bennett, on 55,685.

Independent Cath Hannon finished third in both the city and in the region, ahead of UKIP's Bill Etheridge, independents Mike Rumble and Derek Webley, and Liberal Democrat candidate Ayoub Khan.

Turnout in the city was just 10.5 per cent while in the West Midlands it was 12 per cent - the lowest figures nationwide.

Mr Jones said turnout was even worse than expected.

"When you're talking to lots of people and organisations you're able to explain what the job was about.

"But when there's three million people you're only scratching the surface.

"Apart from the odd bit of media support there's been very little publicity.

"Some thought they were voting for a chief constable - others thought 'why do we need this change?'."

The Electoral Commission is set to investigate the low turnout - with results expected early next year.

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