West Midlands PCC Bob Jones dies aged 59

Bob Jones died suddenly at his home in Wolverhampton

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The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones has died "in his sleep" aged 59.

Mr Jones, from Wolverhampton, was elected to the role as a Labour candidate in November 2012.

He courted controversy when he called for PCCs to be scrapped, but also lent his support to several campaigns while occupying the role.

An election to fill the vacancy left by Mr Jones' death is expected to be held in the coming weeks.

His widow Sarah said her husband was a "warm and wonderful man".

"Nothing was more important to Bob than his family which he loved with a passion," she said.

"He was a very special man who will terribly missed by his loved ones and I'm sure by the many people whose lives he touched in public service."

Flags at half mast Flags outside Wolverhampton Civic Centre were flown at half mast

Mr Jones's deputy Yvonne Mosquito confirmed he died on Tuesday morning, describing his death as a "huge loss" to policing.

"Bob was a dear friend and a deeply committed public servant," she said.

"All our thoughts are with Bob's wife Sarah and his family at this sad time."

Mr Jones served as a Labour councillor in Wolverhampton for 33 years and was also a member of the West Midlands Police Authority.

"The untimely death at the age of 59 of the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones, has brought about the first departure from office of any of the commissioners who were elected in November 2012.

The government's big idea in triggering PCC elections was to replace the old police authorities (considered by ministers to be invisible and ineffective) with high-profile figures, who would be directly accountable to local communities.

During his relatively brief time in office, Bob Jones nevertheless put his own distinctive stamp on the job, not least through the increased police precept added to council tax bills, to help fund a police recruitment initiative which reversed years of declining numbers in the West Midlands force."

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

Wolverhampton City Council leader Roger Lawrence said Mr Jones "was a great public servant to Wolverhampton".

"He will be greatly missed," he said.

Flags outside Wolverhampton Civic Centre were flown at half-mast in remembrance of Mr Jones.

'Deeply saddened'

Staffordshire's Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, said Mr Jones had succeeded in "fundamentally changing and improving the way the police engaged with local people".

"Although we didn't share the same philosophies, I liked Bob very much as a person and will miss the banter we had on so many occasions," he said.

"He was never afraid to speak his mind, even if this sometimes caused him to be in a minority of one among PCCs."

At one point "Bob Jones" was trending on Twitter UK as people posted tributes.

Labour MP for Erdington Jack Dromey tweeted: "Deeply saddened to hear the death of West Mids PCC, Bob Jones, a great champion of all that is best in British Policing & a very decent man."

Book of condolence A book of condolence was opened at West Midlands Police's Lloyd House headquarters

Former mayor of Wolverhampton Phil Bateman added: "Bob Jones A Great loss, truly shocked, a man of huge integrity, and taken before his time. Making a job he didn't want successful!"

John McNicholas, chairman of transport authority Centro, said he was "shocked and saddened" at this news and added: "Bob Jones was totally committed to the communities of the West Midlands and he will be greatly missed."

A book of condolence has been opened at West Midlands Police's Lloyd House headquarters.

'Obdurate commitment'

The first signatories were Bob Jones' deputy Yvonne Mosquito and West Midlands Police Chief Constable Chris Sims.

Mr Sims described Mr Jones as an "outstanding politician" and praised his "unrivalled" knowledge of policy.

"I shall miss his counsel, his obdurate commitment and sense of service to the people of the West Midlands," he said.

An online book of condolences was also available on the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner website.

In his spare time Mr Jones was campaigning strategy director for the Campaign for Real Ale.

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