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West Midlands Police Commissioner Bob Jones dies suddenly

West Midlands Police Commissioner Bob Jones dies suddenly

🕔01.Jul 2014

Tributes are pouring in for Bob Jones, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, who has died suddenly at the age of 59.

Stunned colleagues and politicians from across the party divide universally recognised Mr Jones as an honest, decent and hard-working man who cared sincerely about making a difference as PCC.

Dubbed by some the “reluctant commissioner”, Mr Jones made little secret of his belief that the introduction of PCCs was a mistake by the Government. He was never happy about the powers placed in the hands of one person and argued that the new system could never respond adequately in an area the size of the West Midlands to community concerns about policing at the grass roots.

Elected to the post in November 2012, Mr Jones, a former Labour city councillor in Wolverhampton, immediately set about developing ways to make sure that police priorities reflected local wishes. But he was hampered by swingeing budget cuts imposed on the West Midlands force by the Government.

He did, however, manage to oversee the first police officer recruitment exercise in the West Midlands for several years.

Last year he issued a report likening attempts to beef up the role of police commissioners as “breathing life back into a dead parrot”.

As a former chairman of the West Midlands Police Authority, Jones recognised that the authority structure was far from perfect. But he felt strongly that the authorities could and should have been reformed to give closer community contact.

He was in many ways an unlikely candidate for high office. Not through his intellectual ability, which was powerful enough, but through his small-town lifestyle. He never lived more than a mile away from his birthplace in Wolverhampton, expect when he went to university at Nottingham.

He turned down the offer of a chauffeur driven car when elected PCC, preferring to use public transport whenever feasible. The start of meetings was sometimes delayed when buses and trains were late, but Mr Jones stuck to his principles and, one suspects, drew the admiration of rank and file coppers for doing so.

He much preferred a pint of real ale with friends to any glitzy reception and was proud to be a member of Camra.
Unusually for a high-ranking elected official, he never rejected requests from journalists for an interview. Phone calls were always answered, promptly and politely. And he was always highly quotable, much to the concern of his PR team.

Deputy PCC Yvonne Mosquito, who will assume Mr Jones’s role for the time being, said: “This is a huge loss to the West Midlands and to policing. Bob was a dear friend and a deeply committed public servant. All our thoughts are with Bob’s wife Sarah and his family at this sad time.”

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