Pledge to get bobbies back on the beat as commissioner starts work

By Ian Dipple Thursday 22 November 2012 Updated: 23/11 10:46

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Buy photos » Bill Longmore has begun work as the new Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia. (s)

GETTING more police onto the streets has been identified as the top priority for the man elected as West Mercia's first Police and Crime Commissioner.

Bill Longmore said during the campaign residents had been clear they had concerns about a lack of uniformed presence in their communities and he wanted to address that with Chief Constable David Shaw as soon as possible.

"We need to sit down and see what we can come up with to get more police officers patrolling, even if it is for short periods, as people are saying they are not seeing police on the beat and hopefully we can satisfy some of their wishes," he told the Standard.

The retired businessman, who officially began work today (Thursday), also revealed he would use £20,000 of his £75,000 salary to set-up a charitable trust to help prevent crime and support victims.

The former Staffordshire police officer said he hoped over time businesses would add to the fund and he wanted to create a committee of volunteers to do extra fund-raising.

"If you prevent crime, there is less of it and less need to spend money on it," he said.

"As this develops over the years and is established it may be able to do a lot of good for all sections of society in West Mercia."

Mr Longmore won a convincing victory in last Thursday's poll (November 15) beating Conservative candidate Adrian Blackshaw by 17,456 votes in the second round of counting after Labour's Simon Murphy had been eliminated in round one. But less than 15 per cent of people in West Mercia bothered to vote and just over 12 per cent did in Redditch.

Mr Longmore rejected the idea he did not have a strong enough endorsement to carry out the role, adding he aimed to prove his worth by getting out and about into communities across the force area.

"The position is here to stay and I will try to make a good job of it during my four years in office so at the next election people will feel I have made a difference, they can see it is worthwhile having a commissioner and are willing to go to the polls and elect someone."

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